In an unprecedented move to bolster security and curb leaks, over 100,000 computers used by civil servants in Singapore are set to be disconnected from the internet.
According to the government's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) the project has already started and will be completed by May-June next year. In an internal memo obtained by The Strait Times, the move is being touted as a way to bulk up network security and reduce the chances of falling victim to a hack.
It said: "The Singapore Government regularly reviews our IT security to make our IT network more secure. We have started to separate internet access from the work stations of a selected group of public service officers, and will do so for the rest of the public service officers progressively over a one-year period."
It is believed that employees will be permitted to access the web on personal tablets and smartphones, however public servants will reportedly be barred from forwarding work-related emails to their private accounts.
For its part, the IDA noted that dedicated internet terminals would be available if the internet was needed for work. "There are alternatives for internet access and the work that officers need to do, does not change," it said.
As reported by the AFP news agency, authorities said the move will not disrupt the government's ability to function effectively and instead was a method of curbing any future cyberattacks, malware infections or hacking attempts. Trials reportedly launched in April this year.
In 2013, hackers aligned with the Anonymous collective claimed to have taken a slew of Singapore-based government websites offline – however this was denied by officials at the time. In the aftermath of the hacking spree, a Singaporean court jailed a man called Mohammad Azhar bin Tahir for defacing the website of the country's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong as part of the attacks.
Based on the findings of a 2015 report by Akamai Technologies, Singapore enjoys one of the world's fastest average peak internet speeds and is becoming increasingly tech-savvy as a result.