Memorising passwords must be one of the biggest burdens of modern life. You make one and you lose one. Even though there is relative ease in resetting the password, the Singapore Government is working to quell vicious password memorisation with the new Singpass Mobile app.
The new Singpass Mobile app is now available on Google Play and the App Store. This iteration is multilingual, and more importantly offers greater convenience and security for users.
SingPass is an online account management for access to Singapore Government e-services. From housing to taxes, individuals can engage services from over sixty government agencies with a single set of ID and password.
Despite the convenience of a one-stop-shop platform, recalling complex but secure alphanumeric passwords is a struggle for many users. In fact, every month, approximately 150 000 requests for SingPass password resets are made.
While a digital reset is possible, options are available for less tech savvy users. Users can choose to have a mailer containing the new password to be sent or they can approach the nearest SingPass counter to reset their password.
Even with a new password in hand, users would need to key in their password with each login session.
As Easy As 1-2-3
That memory game will soon come to naught. The new SingPass Mobile app offers a new mode of SingPass 2FA, or two-factor authentication. Using only their fingerprint or 6-digit passcode, users no longer need to enter their passwords to log in. Since SingPass Mobile is also available to users overseas, faulty or lost tokens too will soon be a problem of the past. Much like using any other mobile banking app, the SingPass Mobile app offers the same level of assurance and usability.
Mr Kok Ping Soon, Chief Executive, GovTech, said, “The new SingPass Mobile app will offer a more convenient login option, as users no longer need to enter their passwords to log in. SingPass Mobile is another step towards our vision for citizens to access government and private sector digital services securely with a single, trusted National Digital Identity.”
In three simple steps, users can quickly set up SingPass Mobile on their mobile devices.
To begin, users must download SingPass Mobile developed by Government Technology Agency on their mobile device. Then, follow the instructions detailed on the app and complete a one-time setup. Users can access the app using their fingerprint or their chosen 6-digit passcode. Facial recognition authentication is also available for selected smartphones.
For SingPass users who are unable to use the app, SMS One-Time Password (OTP) and OneKey token will still be available.
Safety in Your Hands
Although the app bypasses the constant need for password input or OTPs, developers have reassured that SingPass Mobile is crypto based and uses Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). This means that the information contained on one mobile device is localised. There is no sharing of keys between parties and any information stored on the device cannot be replicated.
Developers have put the app through rigorous internal and external vulnerability tests to ensure threats are effectively buffered against. For example, when a potential security breach or malicious software on a mobile device is detected, the app will not be available for use on the device.
Nevertheless, the public is reminded to practice good cyber hygiene practices. Jailbreaking, sharing of passcodes or registering multiple users on a single device should be avoided. At the same time, users should stay abreast of phishing scams. The app will also be updated periodically to hedge against threats to security.
Plans for the Future
To ensure maximum digital inclusion, feedback was pooled from public service officers and members of the public during the development stage. There are already about 7000 users today.
In due course, more features will be added to the app to make it a one-stop touch point for government digital services.
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