SINGAPORE: Cyberattackers steal 1.5m citizens’ details, including PM’s

Singapore cyber attack Personal data of more than 1.5 million citizens including PM stolen

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. | AFP

"Attackers specifically and repeatedly targeted the personal particulars and outpatient information of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong", Gan told reporters.

Investigations by the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) found that victims' name, national identification number, address, gender, race and date of birth had been stolen between May 1, 2015, and July 4, 2018, the health and communications ministries said Friday. "Perhaps they were hunting for some dark state secret, or at least something to embarrass me", he wrote.

"The Government takes a serious view of any cyberattack, illegal access of data or action that compromises the confidentiality of data in Singapore", MOH and MCI said in their joint statement.

In February, the U.S. and United Kingdom said that the Russian military was behind a "malicious" cyber-attack on Ukraine previous year that spread globally.

While officials refused to comment on the identity of the hackers citing "operational security", experts told reporters that the complexity of the attack and its focus on high-profile targets such as the prime minister pointed to the hand of a state actor.

The problem was detected when unusual activity was detected on one of SingHealth's IT databases on July 4. However, officials insisted that records relating to patients' test results and diagnoses were not compromised.

The federal government is automatically assigning each Australian a digital health record unless they opt-out.

"I am personally affected, and not just incidentally".

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"They tend to be well resourced, well-funded and highly sophisticated". But the prime minister noted that those behind the attack had "huge resources" and were "extremely skilled and determined".

PM Lee said SingHealth had asked him whether to computerise his personal records when digitising its medical records, or to keep them in hard copy for security reasons.

It appears that a computer belonging to SingHealth, one of the state's two major government healthcare groups, was infected with malware through which the hackers gained access to the database. Information on the health status of patients in the hands of hackers were not included.

"The Cyber Security Agency's (CSA) investigations have established that the attack was deliberate, targeted and carefully planned". A former judge will head an inquiry looking into the incident.

Eric Hoh, a top executive at the cybersecurity firm Fireye, said he believes this incident should serve as a wake-up call to some of Singapore's neighbors.

Earlier this month, USA intelligence chief Dan Coats described Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as the "worst offenders" when it came to attacks on American "digital infrastructure".

He noted that government systems come under attack thousands of times a day, and the goal must be to prevent every attack from succeeding.

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