State-sponsored hacker groups are likely behind Singapore’s biggest ever cyber attack to date. The hack which hit medical data affected nearly a quarter of Singapore’s population.
Last Friday that hackers had broken into a government database and stolen the health records of 1.5 million Singaporeans, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who was specifically targeted in this tremendous attack.
For now, officials refused to reveal the identity of the hackers, but experts told AFP that the complexity of the attack suggests this is the hand of a state-sponsored hacker group. They also told national broadcaster Channel NewsAsia that the cyber attack was an “advanced persistent threat well resourced, well-funded and highly sophisticated.” From all the countries from this world Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are believed to have the capability to carry out such attacks.
However, until things become clearer nobody would jump into drawing speculations on who might be behind the hack or why Singapore was targeted. At this time all we know is that the cyber attack started two weeks after Singapore hosted the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In order to stay away from any threats like this, we recommend the install of antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac on every device that you own, depending on which OS your device is running.
If you are a company, it is also recommended to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network. These tests include penetration testing and ethical hacking tests;
Another motivation might be the fact that healthcare data is of particular interest to hackers because it can be used to blackmail people into positions of power.
People have to conscientize that a lot of information about a person’s health can be gleaned from the medications that they take, and any non-public health information could be used for extortion. Also the medical information, like personal data, can be easily monetised on cybercriminal forums, but beyond making a quick buck, a more sinister reason to attack would be to cause widespread disruption and systemic damage to the healthcare service — as a fundamental part of critical infrastructure –- or to undermine trust in a nation’s competency to keep personal data safe.
Government services, from healthcare to education, are targets that are just as likely, as Singapore embraces the digital revolution, security breaches are bound to happen. Singapore officials have cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the attackers.
“Regarding the prime minister’s data and why he was targeted, for now, it is best not to speculate what the attacker had in mind,” said David Koh, head of Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency.
The hackers used a computer infected with malware to gain access to the database between June 27 and July 4 before administrators spotted “unusual activity”, authorities said.
Earlier this month, US intelligence chief Dan Coats cataloged Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as the “worst offenders” when it came to cyber attacks on American “digital infrastructure”.
We would continue to monitor this cyber war. Meanwhile, users should keep a keen eye out for any cyber attacks. Remember to use an antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac in every device that you own, depending on which OS your machine is running, If you are a company we recommend to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network, tests like this include: penetration testing and ethical hacking.