Lessons Learnt from the SingHealth Case — Effective Incident Response Strategy and Consideration of Zero Trust Security Framework
SingHealth, Singapore's largest public health provider, comprising a team of 28,000 health care professionals and staff, was hit by a cyberattack in mid-2018, affecting about 1.5 million patients, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and a few ministers. The breach had their personal data stolen, including the name, NRIC number, address, gender, race, and date of birth — these were illegally accessed and copied. The worst cyberattack in Singapore has resulted in a SG$1 million fine, the highest record in Asia/Pacific. This IDC Perspective focuses on the incident response plan, one of the valuable lessons learnt from this incident. A sound breach/incident response strategy carries a significant importance to an organization's overall security effectiveness and cyber resilience. "Cybersecurity must be viewed more than just a technical issue. Lack of awareness of the organization's response plan or lack of practices on these incident response plans can severely hamper timely reporting, as well as effective responses and controls, and severely impact business operations and reputation," says Cathy Huang, senior research manager, IDC Asia/Pacific Security Services. "For critical infrastructure and assets, for example, databases containing patient data must be monitored in real time for suspicious activity. Organizations should consider a new security architecture — zero trust or distributed integrity. The new enterprise security architecture is shifting access controls from the perimeter to individual devices and users. It requires verification all the time, more stringent authentication methods, and least privilege account philosophy used," Huang continued.
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