As the technological revolution is boosting research organizations as well as companies, it is also allowing a particular group of people to take control of data belonging to an organisation or individual. While the world is currently depending on the huge cosmos of the internet, hackers always look for an opportunity to breach into someone's private virtual space.
This time cybercriminals targeted Singapore and as per a statement from Ministry of Defence, personal data of about 100,000 defence personnel may have been leaked.
Cyberattack on Singapore defence
The Ministry of Defence said in a statement hackers sensitive information held by two security force vendors that probably include names of the defence personnel, their identification numbers, a combination of contact numbers, email details and residential address.
A malware attack which targeted ST Logistics' systems which held the personal data of about 2,400 Ministry of Defence and Singapore Armed Forces employees. The other targeted security force vendor HMI Institute of Health Sciences' system contains the information of about 98,000 security force personnel.
Investigation of data breach
In a statement, the Defence Cyber Chief Brigadier-General Mark Tan mentioned that even though MINDEF/SAF's systems and operations were not affected by the cyberattack, "The malware incidents in these vendor companies may have compromised the confidentiality of our personnel's personal data."
In addition, he stated, "We will review the cybersecurity standards of our vendors to ensure that they are able to protect our personnel's personal data and information."
In the recently released statement, it was mentioned that the initial investigation conducted after the attack showed that the personal data could have been leaked in the ST Logistics incident, while it looks like the chances of data leak from the HMI institute is low.
Previous attacks on Singapore
The island nation is currently trying to turn the city-state into a Smart Nation by harnessing technology to the fullest with the aim of improving the lives of citizens, creating more opportunities, and building stronger communities. As it is the financial hub in the region, hackers have been targeting the country for a while.
Earlier this year, a part of the Singapore Red Cross' (SRC) website was hacked and affected personal data of 4,297 people. While informing people about the data breach, SRC also mentioned that "the following information of 4,297 individuals who had registered their interest on the website was compromised: Name, contact number, email, declared blood type, preferred appointment date/time and preferred location for blood donations."
In 2018, Singapore faced another cyber threat as a total of 1.5 million SingHealth patients' non-medical personal data were stolen by hackers. During the breach, the cybercriminals accessed the 160,000 patients' records of dispensed medicines, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's personal particulars and information of his outpatient dispensed medicines.
In a recent report by cybersecurity company Carbon Black it was revealed that ransomware attacks were the prime cause of breaches in the island nation. Even when IBTimes Singapore talked to the head of Research and Development, DigiCert, Avesta Hojjati, he mentioned that the hackers are so advanced that they can also use the artificial intelligence (AI) to conduct a cyberattack, while stating that poor security practices by IT teams is the reason behind Singapore cyber attacks.