Mobile Guardian

SINGAPORE: 127 primary and secondary schools across Singapore found themselves amid a data security debacle when the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on April 19 that the names and e-mail addresses of parents and teachers were exposed due to a breach in a mobile platform, Mobile Guardian.

The app, a tool aimed at assisting parents in managing their children’s personal learning device activities by controlling access to specific websites, applications, and screen time, fell victim to unauthorised access at its headquarters.

The Straits Times reported that the Mobile Guardian app breach leaked personal information from five primary and 122 secondary schools, making it a concern for approximately one-third of all Singapore’s primary and secondary educational institutions.

In a statement on its official website, MOE assured that the affected individuals would be notified promptly.

Furthermore, they cautioned against potential phishing attempts through e-mails targeting those whose data may have been compromised.

A leaked e-mail acquired by The Straits Times disclosed that the exposed data included parents’ and teachers’ first and last names and their respective e-mail addresses.

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Additional information was also compromised, such as the school attended by the students, their time zone, and whether an individual is a parent or staff member.

The primary schools involved in the data breach were part of a pilot project exploring integrating personal learning devices into the educational curriculum. These schools included Chua Chu Kang, Frontier, Junyuan, River Valley, and Yio Chu Kang.

MOE quickly asserted that its internal device management system remained unaffected, functioning normally.

The ministry, alerted to the breach by Mobile Guardian on April 17, promptly escalated the issue by filing a police report and expressing its concerns directly to the software provider.

Headquartered in Surrey, Britain, with operational bases in the United States and South Africa, Mobile Guardian has taken immediate action by securing its administrative accounts and launching thorough investigations to identify the root cause of the leak.

Mobile Guardian was appointed MOE’s official mobile device management services provider in November 2020. /TISG