Singapore: Cyber security breaches won’t go away


SINGAPORE • Singapore will continue monitoring risks of cyber security breaches and data hacks as those threats won’t go away, a senior government official said.

Risks need to be managed, but won’t prevent the government from building the city state into a technology advanced one under its “Smart Nation” plan, Janil Puthucheary, senior minister of state for communications and information, said yesterday at Bloomberg’s “Sooner Than You Think” technology summit in Singapore.

“There is worry, and I think rightfully so, as we see issues of data privacy and cyber security around the world,” he said. “We need to keep our eyes on that side of the house and make sure people understand that these are risks we’re willing to take because the benefits are so significant.”

Singapore, a trade-reliant nation with a rapidly ageing population, is trying to restructure its economy to make it a global centre of innovation, investing billions of dollars in research to encourage automation in sectors from healthcare to manufacturing. As a hyperconnected financial hub, it’s also a prime target for hackers.

A data breach of Singapore’s biggest public healthcare group, SingHealth, was uncovered in July, where hackers stole information on 1.5 million patients, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“We’re very clear that this was a deliberate and planned cyber attack,” Puthucheary said. “This wasn’t a leak of some sort.”