A “uniquely tailored” malware acclimated by the antagonist abaft the SingHealth cyberattack was so adult that a arch anti-virus (AV) aggregation could not anon acquaint that it was malicious, a Board of Inquiry (COI) was told on Friday (5 October).
In a accessible adventure acknowledgment address by a aggregation from the Cyber Security Bureau (CSA), it was acclaimed that, during investigations into the incident, a malware sample accustomed to the AV aggregation was initially anticipation by the closing to be benign.
“It was alone back CSA provided abstruse advice on the malware to the AV aggregation that AV signatures for the (neutralisation of the) malware could be developed,” said the report. The name of the aggregation was not arise during the hearing.
On the final day of the aboriginal tranche of hearings into Singapore’s better anytime cyberattack, abundant was fabricated of “the accomplished and adult blackmail actor” abaft the attack, which took abode amid 27 June and 4 July.
The claimed particulars of 1,495,364 different patients – including that of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – were baseborn from SingHealth’s database. The abstracts comprises the patients’ demographic annal and the dispensed medication annal of about 159,000 of them. “The bulk of abstracts compromised is aberrant in Singapore,” said the CSA report.
The antagonist was “skilful and disciplined”, establishing “multiple footholds” for re-entry to the arrangement and actual abeyant afterwards initially breaching the arrangement in August 2017. He alone began affective alongside in the arrangement in adjustment to accretion admission to the database four months later.
The CSA address acclaimed that the attacker’s modus operandi and techniques “fit the contour of an Advanced Persistent Blackmail accumulation that CSA has ahead encountered in added investigations”. Authorities accept appropriately far beneath to acknowledge the character of the attacker.
However, CSA said that argumentative investigations accept baldheaded signs of call-backs to an across command and ascendancy server. The dispensed medication annal that were baseborn were additionally affected out to servers hosted overseas.
Three key factors in the cyberattack
Besides the accomplishment of the attacker, the CSA acclaimed that two added key factors contributed to the breach. Firstly, the antagonist exploited vulnerabilities in the SingHealth network.
For example, there were abeyant authoritative accounts that were not disabled, acceptance the antagonist to actuate and use them to log in to SingHealth servers. Investigations additionally showed that the countersign to one of the bounded ambassador accounts was “[email protected]”.
Secondly, the antagonist additionally exploited an absolute coding vulnerability in the off-the-shelf Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager software. This enabled him to go the aftermost mile and log in to the SingHealth database.
In an beforehand hearing, the COI was told that a above agent of the Integrated Health Advice Systems (IHiS), the axial IT bureau for the healthcare sector, had accent this vulnerability to IHiS administration in 2014. The employee, Zhao Hainan, was absolved for alerting a battling bell-ringer to it, but the blemish remained.
The CSA concluded, “The appulse could accept been worse. CSA’s appraisal is that IHiS managed to ascertain and stop the antagonist afore he could do added damage.”
In the deathwatch of the attack, CSA and IHiS put in abode several measures to adverse the actual threat. For example, the KRBTGT annual – a adept key annual that encrypts all added affidavit tokens – was displace alert in succession. This was to invalidate any absolute full-access affidavit tokens that the antagonist ability have.
On 19 July, afterwards apprehensive action was afresh detected in the SingHealth network, a acting admeasurement for acid Internet admission from assignment computers was implemented the afterward day.
The COI continues
Retired arch commune adjudicator Richard Magnus, who is chairing the COI, told the audition that the board was “inclined to accept” the CSA’s appraisal of the three factors that led to the attack.
“From the evidence, it would arise to the COI, alike at this stage, that the antagonist had one and alone one awful intent, and that of exfiltrating abstracts from the acme jewels of the network, which is the Electronic Medical Records,” said Magnus.
The COI hearings resume in backward October, back chief admiral from IHiS and SingHealth will accord testimony. They accommodate IHiS CEO Bruce Liang, and SingHealth’s Accumulation Arch Advice Officer Benedict Tan and its Deputy Accumulation CEO Professor Kenneth Kwek.
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