PM among 1.5mn affected in 'state-sponsored' hack

PM among 1.5mn affected in 'state-sponsored' hack

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.

They said the cyberattack on July 4 was "deliberate, targeted and well-planned" and not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs. SingHealth is Singapore's largest group of healthcare institutions with four hospitals, five national speciality centres and eight polyclinics.

"The attackers specifically and repeatedly targeted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's personal particulars and information on his outpatient dispensed medicines", the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Health said in a joint statement.

The attack on the SingHealth database is believed to be the most serious breach of personal data in Singapore's history.

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

It added that the government will take immediate action to strengthen our public sector IT systems and databases to prevent similar cybersecurity breaches like this, and the Committee of Inquiry will conduct an independent external review.

It includes names and addresses, as well as prescription information in some instances - potentially allowing a hostile agency the ability to blackmail or otherwise attack the people whose data has been stolen.

According to the statement, SingHealth lodged a police report on 12 Jul 2018 and police investigation is ongoing.

According to a preliminary investigation, hackers had breached MOH's systems last month and had this access from June 27 to July 4 when officials discovered the breach.

No further data has been stolen since July 4.

SingHealth has imposed a temporary Internet surfing separation on all of its 28,000 staff's work computers.

Of course, I also knew that the database would be attacked, and there was a risk that one day despite our best efforts it might be compromised. "If so, they would have been disappointed", Lee said in a Facebook post on Friday.

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

Meanwhile, additional measures have been taken to beef up the security of SingHealth's IT systems. Citing data from Ponemone Institute, he noted that a lost or stolen healthcare record could fetch US$408.

The company provided a website so customers can check if they were among those affected and is contacting all patients. "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.

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