Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018

Singapore’s prime minister affected under 1.5 million by cyberattacks

A cyber attack on Singapore's public health system has compromised 1.5 million people, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, a cancer survivor, said Friday.

"This was a targeted, well-targeted and well-planned cyberattack," said Singapore's Ministry of Health and Ministry of Communications and Information in a statement. "It was not the work of occasional hackers or criminal gangs."

Singaporeans visiting certain ambulances between 1 May 2015 and 4 July 2018 may have been affected. The target of the attack was SingHealth, which operates four public hospitals and other facilities

The stolen data contain basic personal information: names, addresses, gender, race and birth dates. In addition, during the hack, information was disseminated about which drugs were given to 160,000 people in ambulances.

No other medical records were made nor information manipulated, said the Department of Health

The government has set up an online service so people can check if their personal information has been compromised.

"We filed a police report on the incident," the ministry said. "We apologize for the concern."

Singapore is a heavily networked city-state claiming to have the highest mobile penetration rate in the world. It is at the forefront of efforts to integrate technology into daily life New housing estates are being used as a driverless vehicle test site, while Singapore residents can use their cell phones to pay or check parking fees for cases of dengue, a tropical disease.

Singapore's Smart Nation website says people can use their smartphones to access "personalized health records at your fingertips!"

The hack seemed to have used malware to infiltrate the system.

The government said that the hackers who were not named "specific and repeat" targeted the data on Mr. Lee, the Prime Minister of Singapore, including the medicines he had distributed on an outpatient basis.

In 2013, Mr. Lee's website was attacked by hackers who said they were part of the hacker collective Anonymous

"I do not know what the attackers hoped to find," Lee wrote in a Facebook post on Friday about the health injury. "Maybe they were looking for a dark state secret or at least something that could embarrass me."

"If that were so, they would have been disappointed," he added. "I usually do not talk about my medication data, but nothing is alarming."

Follow Hannah Beech on Twitter: @hkbeech

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