In what has been described as a serious breach, Singapore experienced a major cyberattack on its health database. The personal information of 1.5 million individuals was reportedly stolen in the incident, Reuters reported.
A statement from the government said that “investigations by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and the Integrated Health Information System (IHiS) confirmed that this was a deliberate, targeted and well-planned cyberattack.” And the joint statement from the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Health Ministry said that “it was not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs.”
Patients who went to clinics over a period ranging from May of 2015 to July 4 of 2018 had information of a non-medical nature accessed and duplicated. And the hackers had another target: They “specifically and repeatedly targeted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s personal particulars and information on his outpatient dispensed medicines,” according to the statement.
The news comes as healthcare information about an individual is more valuable to bad guys than credit card information, according to Xerox’s 2017 eHealth survey. In a press release highlighting the result of the survey, Xerox said that healthcare data breach incidents are climbing year over year, and that patients today understand the risk of their medical information falling into the wrong hands. Xerox found in the survey that 44 percent of respondents are concerned about having their personal healthcare information stolen.
According to Xerox, in 2016, more than one data breach was reported each day. As a result, healthcare providers can and are expected to play a big role in protecting their patients’ data. But the survey also found that more than three-quarters (76 percent) believe it would be more secure to share healthcare information between providers through a secure electronic method rather than faxing paper documents. What’s more, survey respondents also think better information sharing across providers can help improve patient care.