SingHealth cyber attack: SMS notifications sent to more than 700,000 patients

SingHealth said it had received more than 4,800 calls and 750 e-mails regarding the incident.
SingHealth said it had received more than 4,800 calls and 750 e-mails regarding the incident.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - More than 700,000 patients who visited SingHealth's specialist outpatient clinics and polyclinics have received text message notifications from SingHealth on whether their data had been stolen, said SingHealth in a statement on Saturday evening (July 21).

These patients had visited SingHealth between May 1, 2015, and July 4 this year.

The remaining patients who had visited during the same period will receive SMS notifications over the next two days, said the healthcare provider.

In addition, some 150,000 patients who did not register their mobile numbers with SingHealth will receive letters informing them about whether they are affected within a week.

"We apologise unreservedly to patients for the anxiety caused and will continue to do all that we can to reach out to them," SingHealth said in an update on patient engagement.

"We would like to assure patients that no phone number, financial information or other patient medical records had been illegally accessed. The care that we provide to patients has not been affected."

The authorities had on Friday announced that hackers had infiltrated the computers of SingHealth, Singapore's largest group of healthcare institutions, in an unprecedented breach of personal data here.

Of the 1.5 million patients affected, 160,000 people, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and a few ministers, had their outpatient prescriptions stolen as well.

SingHealth said about 139,000 patients have already accessed the Heath Buddy mobile application and SingHealth website to check if they were affected by the attack.

It had also received more than 4,800 calls from patients and members of public asking about the incident.

This is on top of 750 e-mails that SingHealth has received from patients checking on the status of their data.

SingHealth said that patients who are unable to do their data check via the Health Buddy mobile app or SingHealth website can write in to check via the e-mail address check@singhealth.com.sg.

It also encouraged members of the public to visit SingHealth's Facebook page to check for regular updates and alerts.

For the 160,000 outpatients who also had the records of their dispensed medicines stolen, they can call 6326-5555 for more information. The hotline will be manned by healthcare professionals from 9am to 9pm.