PM, 15L citizens targeted in Singapore's "biggest data breach"

Hackers targeted the medical records of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a widespread cyber attack

"The attackers specifically and repeatedly targeted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's personal particulars and information on his outpatient dispensed medicines", the statement said. As per the Singapore government's statement, the hack was "deliberate, targeted and well-planned".

The data was stolen over a one-week period from June 27 to July 4. Singapore has assured everyone that no data was tampered with, amended or deleted.

The government has called the cyberattack "the most serious breach of personal data" that Singapore has experienced.

"We apologise unreservedly to patients for the anxiety caused and will continue to do all that we can to reach out to them", SingHealth said in an update on patient engagement.

"With regard to the prime minister's data and why he was targeted, I would say that it's perhaps best not to speculate what the attacker had in mind", said David Koh, head of Singapore's Cyber Security Agency.

While the exact culprits are not known, local media believes it was the work of state-sponsored actors and "not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs".

The news comes as Australians have been given three months to opt out of the federal government's own national medical data base, My Health Record.

Specifically, mandatory contribution to NEHR is now on hold until further notice. Retired district judge Richard Magnus will chair the committee. Other public healthcare institutions will do the same.

Meanwhile, additional measures have been taken to beef up the security of SingHealth's IT systems.

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Major cyber attacks have been rare in Singapore, which has invested heavily in cyber security over the past decade.

According to the statement, SingHealth lodged a police report on 12 Jul 2018 and police investigation is ongoing.

No further data has been stolen since July 4.

All patient records in SingHealth's IT system remain intact and there has been no disruption of healthcare services.

More than 700,000 patients who visited SingHealth's specialist outpatient clinics and polyclinics have received text message notifications from SingHealth on whether their data had been stolen, said SingHealth in a statement on Saturday evening (July 21). Affected persons will be contacted over the next five days. Medical records, such as diagnoses, test results, or doctors' notes, aren't at risk.

"The nature of such attacks are that they are conducted by nation states using very advanced tools", he said.

Despite that, Mr Lee said: "We can not go back to paper records and files". "Our future as a Smart Nation will depend on the way we protect, detect and respond to cyber threats".

The Ministry of Health has directed a thorough review of the public healthcare system to improve cyber security, and all public and private healthcare institutions have been advised to take cyber-security precautions.

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