Jennifer Soh, Associate Cybersecurity Specialist, Cyber Security Group, GovTech, Singapore

By Medha Basu

Women in GovTech Special Report 2017.

What was your most interesting experience in 2017?

My team and I represented GovTech as the sector lead for the public sector in a cyber exercise organised by the Cyber Security Agency for critical information infrastructure (CII) sectors. The cyber exercise was to test and evaluate Singapore’s cyber incident management and emergency response.

It was a rare opportunity to get to know my various counterparts in other CII sectors. It was a very illuminating process for my team to learn how the other sectors responded to cyber attacks with their respective incident response plans.

At the end of the day, we are all working together to secure and defend Singapore in the cyber realm.

What technology particularly interests you for 2018?

Smart technologies, particularly those that make our homes “smart”, are something that I am interested in.

Singaporeans are always thinking of ways to make their lives more convenient, especially in their own homes. For example, controlling the lights, air conditioning, electrical appliances just by a touch of a button. However, despite being tech-savvy, people have very little knowledge in how to cyber-secure their smart homes to prevent hackers from breaking into these systems and perform illegal activities online.

I would like to understand more about strengthening the security of smart homes and the various forensic artefacts that can help a cybersecurity specialist like me to identify a cyber attack to the smart home systems.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2017, what would it be?

I have learned to never underestimate the impact or extent of a cyber attack, as such an attack may affect multiple parties or may be more severe than what we initially thought. With so many considerations, I have learnt to always think ahead and look at the bigger picture when it comes to investigating cyber attacks.

What was the greatest challenge that you overcame in 2017?

As GovTech is the Singapore government’s cyber security lead, it means that my team has to investigate every cyber-related incident that affects any and all government agencies. As a forensic investigator, I found it very challenging to work in such a fast-paced and mentally-stimulating environment. I am appreciative of my teammates for helping me to settle in, and now I am really enjoying what I am doing!

What book did you read in 2017 that most interested or inspired you?

“Crime Scene Investigation” by Cyril H Wecht. This book was recommended by a pathologist working in Malaysia, who writes a blog that I love to read. There are parallels in forensic science and cyber forensics, and I hope to draw on the knowledge in the book and apply it to my daily work.

Who inspired you in 2017, and why?

GovTech’s chief executive, Ms Jacqueline Poh. I had the pleasure of being in a meeting with her, and witnessed first-hand how she could articulate her thoughts very well and made thoughtful decisions, even though it was her first time listening to the issue. To come out with a solution was great, but to come up with a good one within a short time frame was remarkable. This is something that I wish to improve in myself.