06 May 2021 Faculty , News Media

Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratories (NCL) of the National University of Singapore (NUS) via video conference yesterday.

Signing on behalf of UTB was Dean of School of Computing and Informatics (SCI) Dr Mohamad Saiful bin Haji Omar while NUS was represented by Dean of NUS Computing Professor Mohan Kankanhalli.

The ceremony was witnessed by guest of honour UTB Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman.

Professor Kankanhalli said, “We are very pleased to partner with UTB by supporting its initiatives in cybersecurity related research, education, and training. It is our hope that the positive relationship that we expect to develop as a result of this MoU between UTB and NCL will spark further collaborations between UTB, NUS Computing, and NUS in more areas.”

The newly signed MoU formalises the intention for staff and students of UTB and NCL to collaborate through joint academic, research and development activities, seminars and conferences, as well as the exchange of academic materials of mutual interest.

Borneo Bulletin, 6 May 2021



04 May 2021 Department of Computer Science , Alum , News Media

The Covid-19 crisis in India has escalated in the past month, with the country reporting several hundred thousand new cases per day and the total number of cases surpassing two million on May 4.

Hoping to raise money to support efforts in the fight against Covid-19 in India, one Singapore-based couple started a dollar-for-dollar matching crowdfunding campaign that has raised more than S$192,000 from donors around the world in just 11 days.

Singaporean permanent residents (PRs) Prantik Mazumdar and Dipti Kamath told Mothership that they started the fundraiser because of deep concern for their family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones living in India.

Prantik has been been living in Singapore for 20 years, coming here initially to complete his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Engineering from the National University of Singapore's (NUS) School of Computing. He became a PR in 2007.

They decided to provide help from the outside by galvanising and mobilising the Indian diaspora, as well as their friends, colleagues, and network in Singapore, through a campaign on local crowdfunding platform Milaap, which was founded in Singapore by two NUS School of Computing alumni, Anoj Viswanathan and Sourabh Sharma.

Prantik and Dipti are partnering with two organisations — Swasth Alliance and ACT Grants — that are currently focusing on procuring and delivering oxygen concentrators from overseas to India.

In an update on Milaap about one week after the campaign began, Prantik and Dipti said that the first deployment of oxygen concentrators had landed in Delhi, and were being deployed across the country.

Mothership, 5 May 2021

e27.co, 5 May 2021



03 May 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , News Media

Loose lips sink ships, warned US anti-espionage posters during World War II. It turns out loose code can do a lot more.

The world first caught wind of a massive breach linked to cyber firm SolarWinds last December. The breach was unique not only in its scale, but also in its method of attack. Hackers targeted the very first stop of the entire cyber line of defense: the cybersecurity software.

The compromised software let hackers into thousands of government agencies and companies, sending shockwaves throughout the world. GovInsider spoke with cyber experts to understand what Singapore and its neighbours can learn from the SolarWinds attacks.

What made these attacks particularly insidious was the way it exploited trust in cybersecurity companies, notes Terence Siau, General Manager of Singapore at the global research institution Center for Strategic Cyberspace + International Studies. Many organisations never thought to second guess their security tools, trusting that cyber firms had done their “due diligence”.

But the hackers targeted the software right from the coding stage, sneaking into it as developers built it. Any vulnerabilities would then be passed down to companies, their employees, and even external customers, Siau explains.

“Imagine you’re using an Android phone, and the compromisation comes in from the Android OS,” he says.

Another surprising factor was the scale of these attacks, say Abhik Roychoudhury, Provost’s Chair Professor at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Computer Science, and Liang Zhenkai, who is Associate Professor at the same department.

There were more than 18,000 SolarWinds customers affected, and an estimated 1000 attackers involved, according to Reuters. But it’s likely that we won’t know the full extent of these attacks until much later, Siau says.

First, we need to rethink what makes ‘trustworthy’ software, say Roychoudhury and Liang. “Think of this as extra vigilance – why trust software because it comes from a trusted supplier?” they add.

The second lesson is to prioritise application security, which means making services that run on individual devices more secure. Every device – be it a mobile phone, laptop or IoT sensor – that connects to an organisation’s central network presents an opportunity for attackers to strike.

The bad news is that software for these devices are “most fragile (and poorly written), allowing attackers easy access,” Roychoudhury and Liang note.

GovInsider, 4 May 2021