The latest SingHealth hacking is the fourth cyber-attack targeting government data in recent years.
This is based on the number of breaches government has revealed to the public.
In 2017, MINDEF’s security system was hacked and, according to the government, personal information of about 850 people was stolen.
Information stolen during the attack included national identity card information, telephone numbers and dates of birth.
MINDEF’s deputy secretary for technology and head of Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency, David Koh, said then that:
“The attacks were targeted and well-planned. Based on our investigations, they are not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs.”
Earlier in the same year, hackers broke into the networks of NUS and NTU to steal government and research data.
Koh also said that the attacks were not the work of “casual hackers”:
“We know who did it, and we know what they were after. But I cannot reveal this for operational security reasons.”
The other significant cyber-attack targeting government data took place in 2014, when the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s IT system was breached.
The breach was only revealed a year later, when then Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim revealed the hacking in a May 2015 parliamentary speech.
The Cyber Security Agency said then that it would not provide further details of the breach, as revealing the operational details could “affect the continuing effectiveness of our defensive measures”.
Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative was officially launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 24 November 2014.
A key aim of Smart Nation was to take citizens’ data digital, and consolidate this data on government systems to drive public service initiatives.