Chief of Cyber Security Agency: Cyber-attack not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs

Singhealth’s database was the target of a massive cyber-attack.Who can it possibly be if it’s not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs? State actors? And if so which state?

About 1.5 million patents had their personal particulars illegally accessed and copied including their name, NRIC number, address, gender, race and date of birth

As of now, SingHealth has been rendering assistance to affected patients, contacting them first to let them know they have been affected but how come we cannot defend ourselves against cyber-attack and why didn’t we announce it earlier?

This is a National security issue. The government probably couldn’t announce it earlier due to a combination of diplomatic sensitivities and operational security reasons.

Cyber security is an ongoing battle. Back in April 2017, NUS and NTU were targeted. Elsewhere, we have also read about major attacks in Australia, Norway and America on their health data servers. Remember ‘wanacry’ which locked out access to patients files?

As much as we can learn from these attacks, we cannot completely eliminate the risk of another sophisticated attack because even when security patches get updated, attackers are constantly developing new techniques and probing for weaknesses in IT systems.

What does this all mean? We live in a dangerous world, with state actors using all means to advance their own interests and undermine the interests of other countries – things like hostile information campaigns and cyber-attacks are just some of the new tools at their disposal in today’s hyper connected world.

What we can do is to continually upgrade our systems, and find ways to thwart the efforts of foreign perpetrators.

You remember how many mocked the government for implementing the “internet surfing separation” policy for the public sector. The damage to our systems could have been a lot worse without such radical policies.

We need to stay vigilant, stay strong, and stay united. Cyber security is an ongoing battle and we all have a role to play.