Take a minute to think about the rational fear you have when you log onto a website. Is it password security, identity fraud or something else entirely? Well, you don’t have to worry about it anymore – our local government has heard our frustrations.
Singapore has just announced that they are launching a new initiative to keep us away from scammers and internet crooks. Called e-identity cards (e-ICs), these e-ICs can be used for online transactions, and could potentially eliminate the inconvenience of remembering different usernames and passwords.
The Mobile Digital ID
According to an interview with Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), The Straits Times revealed that the e-IC project is called The Mobile Digital ID. In addition, the e-IC would sit in the handphone SIM card.
The Mobile Digital ID will use an advanced encryption method called public key infrastructure (PKI). It is known to be more reliable, and it could also replace the use of one-time passwords (OTPs).
For verification, all users have to do is enter and send a personal identification number (PIN) joined with the Mobile Digital ID account via SMS. Thanks to PKI, hackers will have no way of stealing the PIN — even if they obstruct an SMS. This is because the PIN must match the user’s info in the central system.
To help you understand better, before the e-IC, what we need to do is to remember all our usernames and passwords before we can log into a website. For some transactions, bank transactions for example, you need to enter an OTP. With this new e-IC, authentication is done simply by entering and sending a personal identification number (PIN) tied to the Mobile Digital ID account via SMS.
The Straits Times also reported that the scammers will only be able to use the e-IC on the handphone if they get hold of the owner’s PIN.
Currently, the IDA is searching for contractors to set up the structure for a four-month trial with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Health. No time-frame was given, but it was revealed that it will begin on April.
This is going to be a huge investment on the government’s part, but given the number of internet crimes and scams in Singapore, it could be advantageous in the long run. Take that, crooks.