SingHealth HACKED

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SingHealth HACKED

How you face Tsunami is left to you; either you wait to be washed aside or create systems & resilience to withstand the same. Singapore, the is one of the most digitally connected cities in the world & boasts of a governance fully wired to digital age. The cyber attack on SingHealth – Singapore’s largest group of healthcare institutions is said to be the most serious in its history. Records of 1.5 patients, including PM Lee Hsien Loong has been stolen.

Medical records have been hacked earlier as well. On Feb 4, 2015, US based Anthem Inc. was stolen of over 37.5 million records that contain personally identifiable information from its servers. Later the number got raised to 78.8 million people. The data breach extended to multiple brands Anthem Inc. uses to market its healthcare plans; Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Georgia, Amerigroup, Caremore, UniCare etc. Last year’s Wannacry attack had locked some National Health Service, NHS, computers in the UK. In Singapore too, in 2013, the country was hit by sustained attacks by a political hacking group, Anonymous. Hackers has also targets the Prime Minister’s office website over censorship.

About 1.5 million visiting outpatient clinics and poly clinics from May 1, 2015 to July 4, 2018 have had their non-medical personal particulars illegally accessed and copied. Information on the outpatient dispensed medicines is of about 1,60,000 of these patients has also been taken. The attacks seem to be ”deliberate, targeted and well planned.” “It is not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs.”

SingHealth hack is ”worrying,” but the response of the govt has been lauded. Good action was taken to minimise the risk of further data exfiltration. Public confidence is the key. Singapore’s Smart Nation drive and industries are heavily dependent on it. Getting hacked is the new normal. Resilience is the key. Being in control of a situation / incident is the answer. Singapore has demonstrated it full measure.


Sanjay Sahay

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