State-Actors Likely Behind Singapore Cyberattack
State-Actors Likely Behind Singapore Cyberattack

State-Actors Likely Behind Singapore Cyberattack

State-Actors Likely Behind Singapore Cyberattack

State-actors were likely behind Singapore’s biggest ever cyberattack to date, security experts say, citing the scale and sophistication of the hack.
The city-state announced 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 the “unprecedented” attack, AFP reported.
Singapore’s health minister said the strike was “a deliberate, targeted, and well-planned cyberattack and not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs”.
While officials refused to comment on the identity of the hackers citing “operational security”, experts told AFP that the complexity of the attack and its focus on high-profile targets like the prime minister pointed to the hand of a state-actor.
“A cyber espionage threat actor could leverage disclosure of sensitive health information... to coerce an individual in (a) position of interest to conduct espionage” on its behalf, said Eric Hoh, Asia-Pacific president of cybersecurity firm FireEye.
Hoh told national broadcaster Channel NewsAsia that the attack was an “advanced persistent threat”.
“The nature of such attacks are that they are conducted by nation states using very advanced tools,” he said. “They tend to be well resourced, well-funded and highly sophisticated.”
Healthcare data is of particular interest to cyberattackers because it can be used to blackmail people in positions of power, said Jeff Middleton, chief executive of cybersecurity consultancy Lantium.
“A lot of information about a person’s health can be gleaned from the medications that they take,” Middleton told AFP Saturday.
“Any non-public health information could be used for extortion. Russian spy services have a long history of doing this,” he added.
Medical information, like personal data, can also be easily monetized on criminal forums, said Sanjay Aurora, Asia Pacific managing director of Darktrace.


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