Passing his 20/20 hindsight on the hacking incident at SingHealth, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean lamented that the government should have cut off internet connection for the Health Ministry earlier:
“Internet surfing separation could and should have been implemented in the public healthcare system, just as it had been done in the public sector. If those steps had been taken, the cyber kill-chain for the hacker would have been disrupted and the surface area exposed to the attack would have been reduced.”
Minister Teo Chee Hean said he has conveyed a Committee of Inquiry but did not explain what the committee would hope to achieve:
“Addressing public concerns and confidence to the public and users are also crucial in such incidents. This must be done as transparently as possible. The formation of the Committee of Inquiry demonstrated that the Government was taking the matter seriously.”
Despite investing billions in the government IT infrastructure and even making themselves an international joke by cutting off internet access for the Civil Service, Singapore’s “Smart Nation” ended up seeing its own Prime Minister’s data stolen by hackers last Friday (Jul 20).
The data copied to external servers by the hackers were receipts of medicine dispensed to patients, patient names and identification numbers. Due to the superficiality of the data copied, affected Singaporeans are nonchalant about the hack even though the government blew the matter out of proportions.
According to the authorities, the hackers were specifically targeting the dictator Prime Minister and that repeated searches for “Lee Hsien Loong” appeared in the log records. Cyber crimes in recent years have been politically-motivated, with the ruling party PAP being the sole target of attack.