Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

7/20/2018
01:59 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Singapore Health Services Data Breach Exposes Info on 1.5 Million People

Attackers, repeatedly and specifically, targeted Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's medication data.

Personal information belonging to about 1.5 million patients who visited Singapore Health Services' specialist outpatient clinics over the past three years has been compromised in a data breach that is being described as the biggest of its kind in the country.

The attackers specifically and repeatedly looked for data on medication being used by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, though their motivation for doing so was not immediately apparent.

"Perhaps they were hunting for some dark state secret, or at least something to embarrass me," Loong wrote on his Facebook page. "If so, they would have been disappointed. My medication data is not something I would ordinarily tell people about, but there is nothing alarming in it."

Singapore's Ministry of Health Friday said the breach stemmed from a "deliberate, targeted and well-planned cyberattack." In a statement, the Ministry pointedly noted the attack was not the work of criminal gangs or casual hackers - seemingly implying in the process that a nation-state actor was behind the incident.

The data that was taken included national registration identity card numbers, names, birthdates, addresses, gender, and race information on 1.5 million people who had visited SingHealth's clinics between May 2015 and July 4, 2018. Other data such as patient diagnosis information, doctor's notes, and test results remained untouched. However, information on medications that were dispensed to some 160,000 patients was also compromised in the incident.

The attack is familiar to countless others in recent years targeting the healthcare industry. Just this week, LabCorp, one of the largest healthcare diagnostics firms in the US disclosed in an SEC filing that it had to take several systems offline - disrupting test processing and customer access as a result - after discovering suspicious activity on its network. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, which maintains a database of publicly disclosed breaches, counts 167 breaches so far this year involving healthcare, medical providers, and health insurers. A lot of the activity is being fueled by the high value of medical data in the criminal underground.

In the Singapore incident, the apparent fact that the attackers specifically targeted data belonging to the nation's prime minister is concerning, says Itzik Kotler, CTO and co-founder of SafeBreach. "The healthcare vertical in particular is very interesting to attackers because their networks are often a key part of the national critical infrastructure, as in the case of SingHealth," he says. "The fact that the attackers targeted the Singapore PM’s personal information and outpatient medicine information is a concern," he notes. In the hands of the wrong people such data could potentially be used literally to trigger a life or death situation, Kotler says.

Unlike many data breach disclosure notices, the Singapore Ministry of Health's disclosure offered at least some details of the incident based on investigations by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and the country's Integrated Health Information System.

According to the statement, database admins at SingHealth first spotted unusual activity on their network on July 4 and acted immediately to end it. A subsequent investigation showed that attackers had broken into the network and exfiltrated data between June 27, 2018 and July 4, 2018. The attackers had apparently accessed the SingHealth system by breaching a front-end workstation and using that foothold to obtain credentials for gaining privileged access to the backend database.

Following the incident, IT and security administrators at SingHealth have implemented several measures to shore up security, including additional controls on workstations and servers and resetting user and system accounts. Officials have also temporarily implemented "Internet surfing separation" as a precautionary measure, the SingHealth statement said.

Related Content:

 

 

 

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Manchester United Suffers Cyberattack
Dark Reading Staff 11/23/2020
As 'Anywhere Work' Evolves, Security Will Be Key Challenge
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  11/23/2020
Cloud Security Startup Lightspin Emerges From Stealth
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  11/24/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-27660
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-30
SQL injection vulnerability in request.cgi in Synology SafeAccess before 1.2.3-0234 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the domain parameter.
CVE-2020-27659
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-30
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in Synology SafeAccess before 1.2.3-0234 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) domain or (2) profile parameter.
CVE-2020-29127
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-30
An issue was discovered on Fujitsu Eternus Storage DX200 S4 devices through 2020-11-25. After logging into the portal as a root user (using any web browser), the portal can be accessed with root privileges when the URI cgi-bin/csp?cspid=&csppage=cgi_PgOverview&csplang=en is visit...
CVE-2020-25624
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-30
hw/usb/hcd-ohci.c in QEMU 5.0.0 has a stack-based buffer over-read via values obtained from the host controller driver.
CVE-2020-29378
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-29
An issue was discovered on V-SOL V1600D V2.03.69 and V2.03.57, V1600D4L V1.01.49, V1600D-MINI V1.01.48, V1600G1 V2.0.7 and V1.9.7, and V1600G2 V1.1.4 OLT devices. It is possible to elevate the privilege of a CLI user (to full administrative access) by using the password [email protected]#y$z%x6x7q8c9z) for the e...