Singapore Cyberattack Steals Health Records of 1.5 mln, including PM


Health records of 1.5m people including Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong were stolen

In his Facebook post about the attack, Lee warned that "those trying to break into our data systems are extremely skilled and determined".

Similar measures are being put in place for IT systems across the public healthcare sector against this threat, the government said.

The breach was immediately contained, preventing further exfiltration, CSA disclosed in a statement.

Initial investigations showed that one SingHealth front-end workstation was infected with malware through which the hackers gained access to the data base.

The systematic siphoning of the SingHealth database went undetected for almost three years and Singapore's government has confirmed that the records haven't been tampered with but only copied. SingHealth filed a police report on July 12. The dataset covers the period from 1 may 2015 to 4 July 2018. These include temporarily imposing internet surfing separation.

"Beyond making a quick buck, a more sinister reason to attack would be to cause widespread disruption and systemic damage to the healthcare service - as a fundamental part of the critical infrastructure -- or to undermine trust in a nation's competency to keep personal data safe", he told AFP. "They have huge resources, and never give up trying", he added.

Mr Iswaran said that "we must get to the bottom of this breach".

Health minister Gan Kim Yong apologised for the breach: "I am deeply sorry that this has happened. Given the nature of this attack, it is hard to say exactly what the end game is, especially when the attackers haven't identified themselves".

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"A cyber espionage threat actor could leverage disclosure of sensitive health information... to coerce an individual in [a] position of interest to conduct espionage" on its behalf, said Eric Hoh, Asia-Pacific president of cybersecurity firm FireEye.

"We must learn from this and emerge stronger and more resilient from this incident".

Another similar attack took place a year ago where the hackers were able to gather basic military information on conscripts.

"No further illegal exfiltration has been detected since 4 July 2018", declared a joint statement, "all patient records in SingHealth's IT system remain intact". They also said that during the hack the criminal group also cleaned every fingerprint to hide the cyber violation.

What is important, he said, is the country's cyber defences and the way it responds to cyber incidents and recovers from them. Instead, we need to shrink protection to application level.

In 2013, Mr Lee's official website was "compromised" by people claiming to be members of the hacking group Anonymous. Affected persons will be contacted over the next five days. I asked to be included. And as the healthcare industry, too, underwent digital transformation, "the border between networks" also would become "more porous".

The government believes that the cyber attack was well planned by professionals and it is likely that the motive was to find state secrets. Citing data from Ponemone Institute, he noted that a lost or stolen healthcare record could fetch US$408.

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