SingHealth cyber attack: COI members bring variety of expertise, experience to table

(Clockwise from top left) The committee will be headed by former chief district judge and current member of the Public Service Commission Richard Magnus. The other members are executive chairman of cyber security solutions firm Quann World, Mr Lee Fo
(Clockwise from top left) The committee will be headed by former chief district judge and current member of the Public Service Commission Richard Magnus. The other members are executive chairman of cyber security solutions firm Quann World, Mr Lee Fook Sun; group chief operating officer of healthcare technology firm Sheares Healthcare Management, Mr T.K. Udairam; and assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, Ms Cham Hui Fong. PHOTOS: ST FILE, CHANGI GENERAL HOSPITAL, ST ELECTRONICS, NTUC.ORG.SG

The four-member Committee of Inquiry (COI) which has been set up to look into Singapore's biggest data breach will include technologists as well as a union representative who will provide the patients' perspective during the course of the investigation.

Yesterday, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, who is also Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security, convened the committee and named its members. It will be headed by former chief district judge Richard Magnus, who is now a member of the Public Service Commission.

The COI will examine the chain of events and factors that led to the leak of 1.5 million patients' personal data, and suggest ways to prevent a similar occurrence in the healthcare sector. It will also look at how the attack was mitigated to draw lessons on ways to better protect public-sector IT systems which contain large databases.

The SingHealth attack also led to the leakage of outpatient prescription information of 160,000 people, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and a few ministers.

Mr Magnus previously chaired the three-man COI that looked into the Nicoll Highway collapse at a Circle Line MRT worksite on April 20, 2004. Four workers were killed. In 1992, he led another COI to investigate a fire at Sembawang Shipyard.

In a statement, Mr Magnus said: "This is a responsibility that I take seriously. I will work with the COI members to ensure that we fully deliver on this important task which has been entrusted on us."

The other members of the new COI are: Mr Lee Fook Sun, executive chairman of cyber-security solutions firm Quann World; Mr T.K. Udairam, group chief operating officer of healthcare technology firm Sheares Healthcare Management; and Ms Cham Hui Fong, assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress.

 
 
 
 

Mr Lee held several management positions at ST Engineering Group for 17 years before he retired last year. He is expected to bring his technical expertise to the table.

Mr Udairam has more than 40 years of healthcare experience in Singapore, including in the operations and management of hospitals. He was chief executive officer of Changi General Hospital from February 2000 to May 2012.

Ms Cham is expected to provide a community and end-user perspective in the COI, having served on many tripartite committees addressing issues like wage restructuring and hiring of mature workers.

The committee will submit a report of its proceedings, findings and recommendations to Mr Iswaran by Dec 31.

Mr Cedric Foo, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Communications and Information, said Mr Magnus is well respected and can be relied on to get to the root of the problem.

"The other three members bring with them domain knowledge in healthcare technology, cyber security and the people sector," he noted, adding that the committee should also seek more input from other experts as its task is complex.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2018, with the headline 'COI members bring variety of expertise, experience to table'. Print Edition | Subscribe