A huge cyber attack on Singapore’s government health database stole the personal information of about 1.5m people, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the government said today.
The “deliberate, targeted and well-planned,” attack aimed at patients who visited clinics between May 2015 and 4 July this year, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
“It was not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs,” the ministry said, adding that the attackers targeted details about Lee and the medicines he received.
“The attackers specifically and repeatedly targeted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s personal particulars and information on his outpatient dispensed medicines,” it said.
Sheena Jacob, a lawyer at Singaporean firm JurisAsia an affiliate of UK firm Gowling WLG, said: “This cyber attack affecting many Singaporeans brings home the fact that such attacks are increasingly common and sophisticated in nature.
"For any business, having to manage a data breach is a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. The simple message: be vigilant and have a clear plan of action well before any attack.”
Last year the UK's National Health Service (NHS) was hit by a major ransomware that caused disruption at hospitals in 16 NHS trusts across the UK.
The attack led to some hospitals turning away patients and cancelling appointments as they struggled to get systems back online.
Unlike the Singapore attack, the attack on the NHS did not seem to be deliberately targeting the organisation.