Cyberattackers steal 1.5m citizens’ details, including PM’s — SINGAPORE


This information is typical personal identifiable information (PII) such as names, date of birth, gender, addresses, and race. Officials said hackers didn't edit or delete any patient records, but only exfiltrated it to a remote server.

The government organisation investigated the incident to ascertain the nature of the activity while putting in place additional cybersecurity precautions. He said: "With cyber attackers getting better-skilled by the day, it's not surprising to see breaches happen despite our best efforts".

According to the statement, SingHealth lodged a police report on 12 Jul 2018 and police investigation is ongoing.

Forensic investigations conducted by the authorities indicated that this was a "deliberate, targeted and well-planned cyberattack".

Medical information, like personal data, can also be easily magnetized on criminal forums, said Sanjay Aurora, Asia Pacific managing director of Darktrace.

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Singapore faced a major cyberattack that stole 1.5 million people's personal health information, including that of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the government announced on Friday.

Singapore has been an active target of cyber attacks and the government recognizes the threat and has warned citizens about these attacks in the past as well. "Perhaps they were hunting for some dark state secret, or at least something to embarrass me", Lee wrote. "If so, they would have been disappointed", he said.

Healthcare data is of particular interest to cyberattackers because it can be used to blackmail people in positions of power, said Jeff Middleton, chief executive of cybersecurity consultancy Lantium. "The attackers targeted my own medication data, specifically and repeatedly", he added. There was no evidence of a similar breach in the other public healthcare IT systems.

In the wake of the breach, the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team has urged all organizations to review their information security practices, policies and procedures, especially around data security, data minimization and how they handle personally identifiable information. In the meantime, SingHealth users can check if their data has been compromised using a dedicated Web page.

With the recent SingHealth case, Wang viewed it as stolen assets, whether financial or private health data.

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Wealthy Singapore is hyper-connected and on a drive to digitise government databases and essential services.

SingHealth also said that about 139,000 patients have accessed the Health Buddy mobile app and its website to check if they are affected.

It did not provide details about what entity or individuals may have been behind the attack. As it could contain any amount and level of information, healthcare institutions are among the most sought-after industries by criminals who can be motivated by a multitude of possible reasons. "They have huge resources, and never give up trying", he added. We can not go back to paper records and files.

Olli Jarva, Managing Consultant for Software Integrity Group at Synopsys said, "The healthcare data breach outlines a new reality".

With threats evolving so quickly today, it would be challenging for one organisation to keep up. Going digital would enable my doctors to treat me more effectively and in a timely manner.

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