Hackers Targeted Singapore’s Largest Health Institution

Worst cyber-attack hit Singapore as hackers are targeting the largest health care institution “SingHealth” in Singapore, the report says they stole personal profiles of 1.5 million patients’ data with the details of prescription for 160,000 others. Added to the later group was Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong who Singapore’s Ministry of Health said was explicitly targeted and not just once.

The cyber-attack was outlined in a government briefing yesterday in the morning, stated the hack was “not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs”. There is no clue on who was behind the cyber-attack yet, but the local media did report that it’s believed to be state-sponsored or backed by some groups. “This was deliberate and very well planned cyber-attack”, said by the Singapore government.

Prime Minister Lee expanded on this in a Facebook post, saying; “I don’t know what the attackers were hoping to find. Perhaps they were hunting for some dark state secret or at least something to embarrass me. If so, they would have been disappointed. My medication data is not something I would ordinarily tell people about, but nothing is alarming in it.

” He also said that whoever the hackers were, they were “extremely skilled and determined” and had “huge resources” behind them.

The government has assured citizens that no records were tampered with (amended or deleted) and no diagnoses, test results, or doctors’ notes were taken. As for the 1.5 million patients affected by the attack, the only information lost was their personal profiles. These included their names, addresses, gender, and race, date of birth, and national registry numbers, but not medical information. All affected patients will be contacted over the next five days.

This happens as a result of the vulnerability of digitised health data. An occurrence like this is common, and Singapore’s may not be the end of it. According to a study in 2015, suggested that around 29 million digital health records that belong to American citizens were exposed in one way or another between the year 2010 and 2013.