Khoo Bing Jin, Senior Cybersecurity Specialist, Cyber Security Group, GovTech, Singapore

By Medha Basu

Women in GovTech Special Report 2020.

How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

I am currently with the Advanced Cybersecurity Capabilities (ACC) team in GovTech. Our work is to identify vulnerabilities and protect public agencies from cyber threats, by using advanced hacking skills and trusted defence technologies. At ACC, we perform security assessments –adversary simulations, product security assessment, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing – to help agencies identify vulnerabilities in their digital applications and services.

What was the most impactful project you worked on this year?

GovTech has been at the forefront of leading Singapore public sector’s tech response in managing the pandemic. This includes rolling out a plethora of digital tools for contact tracing, mask distribution and temperature scanning etc.

My highlights for 2020 are working with my team to conduct security assessments for COVID-19 related projects - which range from citizen-fronting applications such as the SafeEntry and COVID-19 Grant Support Portal to backend processing systems for contact tracing and monitoring of Stay-Home Notice orders. Being involved in these security assessments enabled us to ascertain and provide assurance to citizens and users that the applications and data are secured and aligned with industry best practices.

What is one unexpected learning from 2020?

That has to be juggling work and family during the circuit breaker. During the circuit breaker, I had to cope with meeting project deliverables, whilst overseeing my children’s home-based learning. MOE’s announcement to bring forward the June’s school holidays was a lifesaver! On the bright side, not being able to travel has made us appreciate spending more quality time with our family and loved ones.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2021?

With public agencies increasing adoption of cloud, I am particularly interested to learn more about cloud security. It is important to be aware of security best practices, so that we can secure our public sector cloud deployments and prevent data breaches.

What are your priorities for 2021?

The team has developed capabilities to identify misconfigurations in cloud deployments this year. In 2021, we will be picking up new skillsets in Cloud Penetration Testing on the various cloud platforms.

What advice would you give to women looking to start a career in GovTech?

December 2020 marks my second year in GovTech. It has been an enriching and fulfilling journey, and I’m looking forward to more exciting times ahead. With that, I would like to share three personal learning points.

Firstly, embrace the ABC values (i.e., Agile. Bold and Collaborative). The technology landscape is everchanging, so being agile enables us to adapt and shape our tomorrow. Be bold to share your ideas and introduce change, for change is the only thing that remains constant. As we do not work alone, there will be plenty of opportunities to work with various stakeholders, therefore we need to collaborate to create engaging, effective and efficient solutions.

Secondly, build your network and find mentors. Joining focus groups and communities is the first step to developing your network which you can tap on for opportunities and resources. Finding a mentor is the next step to make a world of difference, as a mentor provides insights, guides and points you in the right direction to achieve your career goals.

Lastly, continuous learning. Being in GovTech which is driving Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government initiatives, there are new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. Like the Chinese proverb 活到老学到老 which translates to one should engage in a lifetime of learning.

Write a message for your future self.

Always be brave to try something new and challenge yourself. Go for it! What’s the worst that could happen? You will gain from trying / failing and become better in the process.