High-level independent panel to probe attack

Mr Richard Magnus chaired the committee that looked into the 2004 Nicoll Highway collapse.
Mr Richard Magnus chaired the committee that looked into the 2004 Nicoll Highway collapse.

A high-level independent Committee of Inquiry (COI) will be set up to get to the bottom of the major cyber attack on SingHealth's database.

The incident, which compromised the personal particulars of about 1.5 million patients, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has serious public health and safety implications, said the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) yesterday.

The COI will be convened by Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security and Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran.

It will be chaired by Mr Richard Magnus, and other COI members will be announced at a later date.

Mr Magnus is a former chief district judge and current member of the Public Service Commission.

He previously chaired the three-man COIthat looked into the Nicoll Highway collapse at a Circle Line MRT work site on April 20, 2004. Four workers were killed in the incident.

Other incidents that have been investigated by such high-level committees include the Little India riots in December 2013 and the series of train disruptions on the North-South MRT Line in December 2011.

Mr Iswaran said yesterday that the latest COI's work would focus on what has occurred within the SingHealth system.

He added: "But certainly, in terms of its recommendations, we would want to see if there are lessons that can be adopted (not only) for the broader public sector, but also for the private sector and, in particular, the critical information infrastructure."

Among other things, the COI will establish what caused the breach and the response to the attack.

It will also recommend measures to better manage and protect the IT systems of SingHealth and other public sector agencies against similar attacks.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2018, with the headline 'High-level independent panel to probe attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe