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SingPass change: Why only now?

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Post-SingPass breach, the two-factor authentication, or 2FA, will be introduced, said the Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim.

Various government agencies will implement 2FA at their own time, and disclose their timelines later this year.

Yaacob said the 2FA was not introduced earlier because “not everyone had the capacity or know-how to use the technology when SingPass was introduced initially.”

He added that his ministry would work with the Finance Ministry and the IDA to enhance security measures after the breach of the 1,560 SingPass accounts last month.

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Users could possibly define their own user names under the new SingPass system (the contract was awarded this April), instead of the default NRIC or FIN number currently.

There is also the possibility that the government will mandate more frequent password changes for SingPass accounts.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen revealed that 2,600 Permanent Residents (PRs) renounced their PR status before serving NS, while 7,200 PRs served out their National Service (NS) in the last five years.

He warned that the ex-PRs would face serious, adverse consequences if they apply to return to study or work in Singapore.

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