SINGAPORE - The police are following up with Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim after she said in Parliament that she had received a threat warning from Apple informing her that her iPhone could be the subject of hacking by state-sponsored attackers.
"This is a very serious allegation and because of the potential implications on national security, the Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam has asked the Police to follow up with Ms Lim to look into the matter," said a police spokesman in a statement on Saturday (Feb 19).
The police have written to Ms Lim, a Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC, to advise her to file a police report.
"Alternatively, if she does not wish to file a report, she can hand over her phone to the police, so that a forensic examination can be conducted," said the spokesman.
Mr Shanmugam has directed the police to engage a commercial organisation with expertise in this field to conduct the examination.
"He has also directed that Police put in place a secure, auditable and transparent process to handle and examine her phone, from the point in time that Ms Lim hands over the phone, to its return to her," added the police.
Ms Lim brought up the claim of hacking in Parliament on Friday during an exchange with Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan, who was responding to a question from Workers’ Party’s Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC) on the Government’s use of spyware.
She said then: “So based on what the Minister of State said just now that reliance on technology is required for national security reasons, can I get his confirmation that I should have absolutely no concerns that the Singapore government agencies are trying to hack into my phone?”
In response, Mr Shanmugam said state agencies did not hack into Ms Lim’s iPhone and added that he had done a quick check with the Defence Ministry’s Security and Intelligence Division.
He noted that the Home Affairs Ministry (MHA) would be interested to see the alerts Ms Lim received on her phone and find out who is trying to “get into her phone”.
Mr Shanmugam also said if Ms Lim was serious about finding out if her phone had been hacked and by whom, the proper way to do it was to approach MHA, which would do a thorough investigation.