Singapore

SingPass & CorpPass systems down for six hours, not due to attack

Services were fully restored by 5.15pm after six-hour outage

National authentication systems SingPass and CorpPass suffered a six-hour outage yesterday, disrupting hundreds of essential e-government services, including parking fine payment, work permit application and access to Central Provident Fund (CPF) for investment.

Users started experiencing intermittent problems and slowness in accessing SingPass and CorpPass as early as 11am.

The authentication services were then taken down in the afternoon for urgent maintenance due to a "server fault", said a spokesman for GovTech, the agency behind public sector technology transformation, including the development of SingPass and CorpPass.

She added that the outage was not a result of any cyber attack and that services were fully restored at around 5.15pm.

But, by then, scores of users had complained about being locked out of their CPF accounts in particular.

Technical coordinator Zhang JayKay, 29, said: "I kept getting an error page."

A Facebook user by the name of Walter Yisheng said he wanted to check the transactions in his CPF investment account. But he could not log in.

Office manager Anna Alias, 34, uses CorpPass to file CPF contributions for staff but could not use it for hours yesterday.

"Once, I had a successful log-in but no one-time password was sent to my mobile phone," said Ms Anna.

'HIGH TRAFFIC'

At around 3pm, SingPass users were greeted with a denial of service message due to "high traffic". The message was later updated to: "SingPass is temporarily unavailable due to a technical glitch. We are working to restore the service within the next two hours."

A similar message appeared on CorpPass' website: "CorpPass is temporarily unavailable due to a technical glitch. We are working to restore the service within next two hours."

Set up in 2003 for Singapore residents to access e-government services, SingPass has more than 3.3 million registered users and supports 57 million e-government transactions.

CorpPass, rolled out in September 2016, is meant for corporate transactions, including filing of corporate taxes and making work permit applications.

The disruption comes a week after a two-hour-long outage last Friday on the critical cashless services provided by Nets, prompting experts to ask if Singapore is ready for a digital future and as a Smart Nation.

One of Singapore's key Smart Nation projects is a national digital identity (NDI) system, which will be layered on SingPass.

"We are seeing failure of critical infrastructure key to the success of a cashless society and a digital economy," said independent global cyber-security consultant Aloysius Cheang.

"We need to enforce minimum service standards for critical infrastructure, particularly the NDI, to build confidence in our vision of a Smart Nation."

Technology