Today, the government of Singapore revealed that a massive cyber attack on the government health database of the country stole the personal information of approximately 1.5m people, including that of Lee Hsien Loong, the Singaporean Prime Minister of the country.
In a statement, the Health Ministry said that the “Investigations by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and the Integrated Health Information System (IHiS) confirmed that this was a deliberate, targeted and well-planned cyberattack.” It added that the attack was aimed at patients who visited the clinics between the period of May 2015 and the 4th of July this year.
The Government called the attack “the most serious breach of personal data” that the country had ever experienced. It comes as the highly-wired and digitalised state has made cybersecurity a their top priority for the ASEAN bloc and for itself.
The ministry stated: “It was not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs.” It added that the attackers targeted the information regarding Lee and the medicines that he had received.
It added: “The attackers specifically and repeatedly targeted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s personal particulars and information on his outpatient dispensed medicines.”
A lawyer at Singaporean firm JurisAsia an affiliate of UK firm Gowling WLG, Sheena Jacob, stated: “This cyber attack affecting many Singaporeans brings home the fact that such attacks are increasingly common and sophisticated in nature.”
She added: “For any business, having to manage a data breach is a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. The simple message: be vigilant and have a clear plan of action well before any attack.”
In 2017, the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom was also affected by a major ransomware that caused some disruption at hospitals in 16 of the NHS trusts across the country.
The said attack resulted in some hospitals turning away some patients and cancelling the appointments as they experienced a hard time to get the systems back online.
Unlike the Singaporean attack, the attack on the NHS did not appear to be targeting the organisation deliberately.