Hackers raid 1.5m health records in Singapore cyber attack


Around 1.5 million people have had their personal details stolen in a cyber attack on the Singapore government’s health database, it has emerged.

Reuters reported that prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, was among those who had their details stolen.

The government has called the attack “the most serious breach of personal data” the country has experienced.

Singapore has ironically made cyber security a top priority this year, while it acts as chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) group.

There is no word as to whom has stolen the information, but a government statement cited by Reuters said the attack between May 2015 and July 4 was “not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs.”

The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Integrated Health Information System confirmed it was a “deliberate, targeted and well-planned cyberattack”.

Attackers repeatedly targeted the prime minister’s personal details and information on medicines he was prescribed.

A further 1.5 million patients who visited clinics have had their non-medical personal information illegally accessed and copied, according to the government.

Commenting on the events, Olli Jarva, Managing Consultant at Synopsys' Software Integrity Group, said: “We are beginning to see a new and scary fact - healthcare data has grown its value such that hackers are now willing to go the extra mile to obtain it. This has been a growing trend over the past few years, such that healthcare data has outgrown the value of credit card or social security numbers.”

Jarva said that security must be integrated into programming of health databases from the outset, with bugs and flaws identified early to prevent them being exploited.

“If we leave these problems for later, the cost of fixing and reacting to breaches would be extremely costly and the effects may be devastating,” Jarva added.