Singapore’s worst cyberattack steals personal data of 1.5 million people, including PM

Singapore

Government officials did not say who might have been behind the attack, but a joint statement by the health and communications ministries suggested a high degree of sophistication. This information is typical personal identifiable information (PII) such as names, date of birth, gender, addresses, and race. SingHealth is the country's biggest group of healthcare institutions, with 11 hospitals and centres under its aegis.

According to MOH, hackers stole data for around 1.5 million patients who visited SingHealth's specialist outpatient clinics and polyclinics from 1 May 2015 to 4 July 2018.

The hackers "specifically and repeatedly targeted" data belonging to Singapore's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, whom the BBC notes has survived two battles with cancer.

Six days later, their investigations confirmed it was a cyberattack and the MOH, SingHealth, and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) were informed.

The government has called the cyberattack "the most serious breach of personal data" that Singapore has experienced.

Mr Gan apologised to the affected patients, saying: "We are deeply sorry this has happened".

"We are convening a Committee of Inquiry to look thoroughly into this incident".

Paul Ducklin, Sophos" senior technologist, said: "The data stolen in this breach is an identity thief's goldmine. A police report was made on July 12.

The Straits Times reported that a SingHealth workstation was infected with malware.

Among the actions taken by SingHealth was its imposition of a temporary Internet surfing separation on all of its 28,000 staff's work computers.

Commenting on the attack, Lee wrote in a Facebook post that the hackers were "extremely skilled and determined", and had "huge resources, and never give up trying".

"This was a deliberate, targeted and well-planned cyberattack".

"I don't know what the attackers were hoping to find". Security measures, including the blocking of dubious connections and changing of passwords, were taken to thwart the hackers.

Authorities in Singapore brief journalists on Friday on the hacking of 1.5 million patient records at SingHealth. Other public healthcare institutions will do the same. "Singapore ranks among the leaders in cybersecurity, and we would like to see more governments follow their lead in disclosing breaches", he said in a statement.

The IHiS has been instructed to work with external experts to conduct a thorough review of Singapore's public healthcare system in order to better prevent or detect future cyber attacks.

PM Lee said that an investigation has been ordered to get to the bottom of this.

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