Written by Emily Eng

The breach of patients database system at Singhealth that happened on June 27 this year may well be considered the most severe cyberattack in Singapore’s history. That’s not us being overly melodramatic. In response to the incident, a 4-member Committee of Inquiry has been convened to investigate the matter.

1.5 million health records were compromised in one week, including that of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s. While the database administrators did pick up unusual activity on June 4, which is when they detected the breach, they only later realised that data had been copied and stolen almost a week before.

Did authorities act fast enough? Industry experts seem to agree that Singapore had responded timely enough, with some saying that many other countries would not have even been able to detect the breach within the month, which sounds terribly frightening.

So what?
A darker trend of increasing occurrences of cybersecurity beaches is emerging, just as we have been so eager to take everything digital. The attack on Singhealth is one of the many that have been launched against public agencies this year- both National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technical University have been hit with network breaches, as did MINDEF where 850 national servicemen had their particulars stolen. It really is about time to start taking those mailers about cyberattacks and PDPA more seriously. Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran reiterates however, that Singapore should not let such attacks thwart its progress to becoming a Smart Nation.

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