Singapore PM among 1.5 million people whose health data was hacked

Attack on Singapore health database steals details of 1.5m, including PM

The attack, which the government called "the most serious breach of personal data" that the country has experienced, comes as the highly wired and digitalized state has made cyber security a top priority for the ASEAN bloc and for itself.

The data - taken between June 27 and July 4 - included names and addresses of those who had visited clinics since May 2015, but not full medical records.

The records of the medicines given to 160,000 people - the Prime Minister among them - who had received outpatient treatment at SingHealth's outlets were also stolen. Singapore has assured everyone that no data was tampered with, amended or deleted.

Singapore's Health Ministry said that hackers did not access any diagnoses, test results or doctors' notes.

"Attackers specifically and repeatedly targeted the personal particulars and outpatient information of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong", health minister Gan Kim Yong told a press conference.

SingHealth's database containing patient personal particulars and outpatient dispensed medicines has been the target of a major cyberattack.

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".

"It was not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs", the joint statement by the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Communications and Information said. SingHealth lodged a police report on July 12.

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Cyber Security Agency of Singapore chief executive David Koh said the authorities will monitor if the stolen records have been misused.

"Perhaps they were hunting for some dark state secret, or at least something to embarrass me".

Unusual activity on one of SingHealth's IT databases was first detected on July 4.

Minister in Charge of Cyber Security S. Iswaran will convene a Committee of Inquiry (COI) to conduct an independent external review of the incident.

Some hackers have in the past offered stolen data and software for sale online. The patients will be informed if their data had been illegally exfiltrated.

"All patient records in SingHealth's IT system remain intact", MOH and MCI said.

IHiS, with CSA's support, has implemented measures to tighten the security of SingHealth's IT systems, including temporarily imposing Internet surfing separation; placing additional controls on workstations and servers, reset user and systems accounts; and installing additional system monitoring controls.

The company provided a website so customers can check if they were among those affected and is contacting all patients. Areas of review will include cybersecurity policies, threat management processes, IT system controls and organisational and staff capabilities.

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