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SingHealth cyber attack: Bite the bullet and reboot Smart Nation

Smart city's safety woes: SingHealth's data breach in Singapore's worst cyber attack has triggered questions over the country's Smart Nation initiatives

(From left) Cyber Security Agency CEO David Koh, MCI Permanent Secretary Gabriel Lim, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Chan Heng Kee and SingHealth CEO Ivy Ng at the press conference on July 20, 2018, regarding the SingHealth cyber attack.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

First it burrowed its way into Windows computers, then encrypted the files stored in the hard drive to make them impossible to access. The next step was to demand a ransom to "release" the data.

This was how the WannaCry ransomware struck in May last year. It crippled hospitals in England and Scotland, government agencies in China and Russia, railway operations in Germany and car production facilities in France.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 22, 2018, with the headline 'Bite the bullet and reboot'. Print Edition | Subscribe