Update: Tech in Asia quoted an AsiaOne article stating that the Singapore Police Force was investigating the outage of government sites. That is incorrect. The police have issued a statement stating that “there is no such investigation going on. Misreporting by an earlier news article had led to the spread of this inaccurate information in other media and online websites.”
More than a dozen Singapore government have been unaccessible as of 3pm today, according to a tip-off received by Tech in Asia. Some reports, however, said that the outage occurred as early as 1.30pm. It was unclear why these sites were brought down, but the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) tweeted at 4.19pm that ”government websites are under planned maintenance and will be back ASAP.”
They later issued a fuller statement saying the same thing, with this addition:
Such planned maintenance is usually undertaken during the weekends and public holidays due to low expected website traffic. The maintenance took longer than expected, due to technical difficulties. Maintenance of the websites is progressively being completed. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.
The explanation was met with skepticism by internet users. They pointed out that Singaporeans were not informed about any scheduled server maintenance beforehand, which is the usual practice.
It’s also unclear why the “maintenance” is held in the afternoon as opposed to off-peak hours like the middle of the night. This greatly inconveniences users who could be using the weekend afternoons to renew their passports on the ICA website.
They also doubt the fact that all sites could be under maintenance simultaneously, suggesting the possibility of a DDOS attack, which is designed to bring down a site by overwhelming it with data requests.
Furthermore, a spokesperson for the Singapore Police Force, whose website was affected, has “acknowledged the problem”
and added that they are investigating it. There was no mention of a server maintenance. While an AsiaOne article has said that the police was “investigating” the matter, they later released a statement stating that it is incorrect. “There is no such investigation going on. Misreporting by an earlier news article had led to the spread of this inaccurate information in other media and online websites.”
We do not know if this incident is related to The Messiah or the Anonymous Collective. The Messiah is a hacker or a group of hackers who recently threatened to wage war on the Singapore government on YouTube. They then followed that up by hacking a blog belonging to the Straits Times, Singapore’s largest daily newspaper.
Below are the statuses of the various government websites (as of 4.20pm on November 2). The sites are in the midst of being brought back up.
Land Transport Authority – down
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority – down
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority – down
Ministry of Home Affairs – down
Internal Security Department – down
Central Narcotics Bureau – down
Government of Singapore – down
Public Utilities Board – down
Careers@Gov – down
Singapore Government Directory Interactive – down
Singapore Parliament – down
Ministry of Manpower – down
SingPass – down
Singapore Prisons Service – down
Singapore Police Force – down
SPRING Singapore – down
Infocomm Development Authority – down
Ministry of Finance – down
Health Promotion Board – down
Housing Development Board – up
Ministry of Defense – up
Central Provident Fund Board- up
Media Development Authority - up
National Research Foundation – up
We will update this article as we receive more information.