Latest Singapore News

HIV registry data leak not result of hack-in by advanced persistent threat actors

Following an alert by the Police, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has ascertained that confidential information regarding 14,200 individuals diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013, and 2,400 of their contacts, is in the possession of an unauthorised person. The information has been illegally disclosed online. MOH have worked with the relevant parties to disable access to the information.
 
hiv data leak not result of hack-in pic1
 
2          We are sorry for the anxiety and distress caused by this incident. Our priority is the wellbeing of the affected individuals. Since 26 January, we have been progressively contacting the individuals to notify them and render assistance.
 
3          On 22 January, MOH was notified by the Police that confidential information from MOH’s HIV Registry[1] may have been disclosed by an unauthorised person. MOH made a Police report on 23 January. On 24 January, MOH ascertained that the information matched the HIV Registry’s records up to January 2013.From 24 to 25 January, MOH worked with the relevant parties to disable access to the information.
 
4          The records were those of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners[2] diagnosed with HIV up to December 2011. The information included their name, identification number, contact details (phone number and address), HIV test results and related medical information. The name, identification number, phone number and address of 2,400 individuals identified through contact tracing up to May 2007 were also included.
 
5          While access to the confidential information has been disabled, it is still in the possession of the unauthorised person, and could still be publicly disclosed in the future. We are working with relevant parties to scan the Internet for signs of further disclosure of the information.
 
Background
 
6          The confidential information is in the illegal possession of one Mikhy K Farrera Brochez, a male US citizen who was residing in Singapore, on an employment pass, between January 2008 and June 2016. Brochez was remanded in Prison in June 2016. He was convicted of numerous fraud and drug-related offences in March 2017, and sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment. The fraud offences were in relation to Brochez lying about his HIV status to the Ministry of Manpower, in order to obtain and maintain his employment pass, furnishing false information to Police officers during a criminal investigation, and using forged degree certificates in job applications. Upon completing his sentence, Brochez was deported from Singapore. He currently remains outside Singapore.
 
7          Brochez was a partner of Ler Teck Siang, a male Singaporean doctor. As the Head of MOH’s National Public Health Unit (NPHU) from March 2012 to May 2013, Ler had authority to access information in the HIV Registry as required for his work. Ler resigned in January 2014. He was charged in Court in June 2016 for offences under the Penal Code and the Official Secrets Act (OSA). In September 2018, Ler was convicted of abetting Brochez to commit cheating, and also of providing false information to the Police and MOH. He was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment. Ler has appealed, and his appeal is scheduled to be heard in March 2019. In addition, Ler has been charged under the OSA for failing to take reasonable care of confidential information regarding HIV-positive patients. Ler’s charge under the OSA is pending before the Courts.
 
8          In May 2016, MOH had lodged a Police report after receiving information that Brochez was in possession of confidential information that appeared to be from the HIV Registry. Their properties were searched, and all relevant material found were seized and secured by the Police.
 
9          In May 2018, after Brochez had been deported from Singapore, MOH received information that Brochez still had part of the records he had in 2016. The information did not appear to have been disclosed in any public manner. MOH lodged a police report, and contacted the affected individuals to notify them.
 
10         On 22 January 2019, MOH was notified that more information from the HIV Registry could still be in the illegal possession of Brochez. On this occasion, he had disclosed the information online.
 
11         Brochez is currently under Police investigation for various offences, and the authorities are seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts.
 
12         This incident is believed to have arisen from the mishandling of information by Ler, who is suspected of not having complied with the policies and guidelines on the handling of confidential information. MOH takes a grave view of such matters, and will not hesitate to take stern action against staff and other individuals who abuse their authority and access to confidential information, or fail to handle such information in a proper manner.
 
Additional Safeguards in Disease Registries
 
13         Since 2016, additional safeguards against mishandling of information by authorised staff have been put in place. For example, a two-person approval process to download and decrypt Registry information was implemented in September 2016, to ensure that the information cannot be accessed by a single person. A workstation specifically configured and locked down to prevent unauthorised information removal was designated for processing of sensitive information from the HIV Registry. The use of unauthorised portable storage devices on official computers was disabled in MOH in 2017, as part of a government-wide policy.
 
14         MOH will continue to regularly review our systems to ensure that they remain secure and that the necessary safeguards are in place.
 
15         We appeal to members of the public to notify MOH immediately should they come across information related to this incident, and not further share it. Members of the public who have such information or other concerns can contact our hotline at 6325 9220.
 
[1] The HIV Registry contains information concerning individuals diagnosed with HIV, a notifiable disease under the Infectious Diseases Act (IDA). MOH relies on information from the Registry to monitor the HIV infection situation, conduct contact tracing in relation to HIV patients and assess disease prevention and management measures.
[2] This includes work and visit pass applicants/ holders.

Add comment

Emails are optional and for tracking replies. Names are unique; get yours today with a comment!


Security code
Refresh

La Daily

'Shangri-La Dialogue 2019' kicks off in Singapore this Friday
'Shangri-La Dialogue 2019' kicks off in Singapore this Friday

  Top defense officials from various nations have gathered in Singapore fo [ ... ]

Read more la
Multinational maritime drills held in Busan, Singapore starting Monday
Multinational maritime drills held in Busan, Singapore starting Monday

  Multinational maritime drills are being held in waters near Korea's southern [ ... ]

Read more la
SimplyGo: Taking the MRT requires no Top-Ups anymore
SimplyGo: Taking the MRT requires no Top-Ups anymore

Use Your Mastercard® Contactless Bank Cards for Public Transport, with No Need for Top-Ups. The Lan [ ... ]

Read more la
Singapore Hong Kong Paris most expensive cities in the world
Singapore Hong Kong Paris most expensive cities in the world

  March 2019 - A new report shows Seoul is tied with New York City when it comes [ ... ]

Read more la
HDB BTO Balloting Time reduced from 6 weeks to 3 weeks from May 2019
HDB BTO Balloting Time reduced from 6 weeks to 3 weeks from May 2019

At the Committee of Supply debate today, the Ministry for National Development announced measures to [ ... ]

Read more la
HIV registry data leak not result of hack-in by advanced persistent threat actors
HIV registry data leak not result of hack-in by advanced persistent threat actors

Following an alert by the Police, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has ascertained that confidential inf [ ... ]

Read more la
Sexiest Air Stewardess in Asia not from SIA?
Sexiest Air Stewardess in Asia not from SIA?

Mabel Goo has been voted as the sexiest air stewardess in Asia according to an informal online poll  [ ... ]

Read more la
Orchard Road turns No Smoking Zone from 1 Jan 2019
Orchard Road turns No Smoking Zone from 1 Jan 2019

More than 40 Designated Smoking Areas available within the Orchard Road No Smoking Zone. Advisory ap [ ... ]

Read more la
First South Korean President to visit Singapore in 20 years
First South Korean President to visit Singapore in 20 years

  South Korean President Moon Jae-in kicked off his first full day in Singapor [ ... ]

Read more la
Muslims across the world celebrate the end of Ramadan
Muslims across the world celebrate the end of Ramadan

  Muslims across the world have gathered together to celebrate the end of Rama [ ... ]

Read more la
Kim-Trump summit day finally arrives
Kim-Trump summit day finally arrives

  Thanks for joining us on our special coverage of the historic summit between [ ... ]

Read more la
President Trump at Shangri-La; Kim Jong-un at St Regis? TrumpKim Summit 2018
President Trump at Shangri-La; Kim Jong-un at St Regis? TrumpKim Summit 2018

  With the venue for the historic summit confirmed as the Capella Hotel on Singa [ ... ]

Read more la
Trump-Kim Summit 2018 set at Capella Hotel, Sentosa
Trump-Kim Summit 2018 set at Capella Hotel, Sentosa

  US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet at a [ ... ]

Read more la
Singapore hosting first-ever N. Korea-U.S. summit -- why Singapore?
Singapore hosting first-ever N. Korea-U.S. summit -- why Singapore?

  From Switzerland to the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom... there we [ ... ]

Read more la

Our Sponsors


La Latest

Partial lunar eclipse to be visible from much of the world on Tuesday and Wednesday

  A partial lunar eclipse will be visible from much of the world this week,... inc [ ... ]

Read more la
Samsung reportedly secures emergency supplies of 3 key materials targeted by Japan's trade curbs

Samsung Electronics has reportedly secured emergency supplies of three key materials tha [ ... ]

Read more la
England cricket heroes lift trophy after World Cup victory

  England's cricket heroes have been celebrating their World Cup win at the Oval tod [ ... ]

Read more la
Djokovic defeats Federer in an epic 5-hour clash at the Wimbledon final

  In an epic men's Wimbledon final on Sunday,... world number one Novak Djokovic cap [ ... ]

Read more la
Coffee sales in 2019 projected to reach US$5.8 bil. or 300 cups per person

  A report by the Hyundai Research Institute projects the local coffee industry's  [ ... ]

Read more la
Fans arrive at Lord’s ahead of ICC Cricket World Cup final

  Former England cricketer Monty Panesar has said if England beat New Zealand in the [ ... ]

Read more la
Massive power outage in NYC stalls elevators, subway trains

  At least 45-thousand people in New York City are without power after a massive out [ ... ]

Read more la
British ambassador in Trump row resigns

  Sir Kim Darroch, the UK Ambassador to the US, has resigned over leaked doc [ ... ]

Read more la

La Entertain

Gigi Leung debuts at Sammi Cheng's sexy concert

On the night of 16 July 2019, Gigi Leung debuts at Sammi Cheng’s long-awaited and very sexy concer [ ... ]

Read more la
Brooklyn Beckham & girlfriend Hana Cross hold hands for Wimbledon Finals

On 14 July 2019, David Beckham’s eldest son Brooklyn Beckham (20) was spotted with his bosomy, leg [ ... ]

Read more la
Jackie Chan's daughter Etta Ng denies divorcing wife Andi Autumn

On 15 July 2019, rumours were swirling that Jackie Chan’s only daughter Etta Ng Chok Lam (19) has  [ ... ]

Read more la
Rainie Yang, Li Ronghao sexily married in bikini on summer cruise

Taiwanese songbird Rainie Yang (35) was so happy to hear that her boyfriend Li Ronghao was finally p [ ... ]

Read more la
Kim Soohyun completes military service; promises to share beautiful side of himself

On 1 July 2019 today, Kim Soohyun (31) shares that he has finally completed his military service and [ ... ]

Read more la
NY Yankees & Boston Red Sox goes to London

  The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet the NY Yankees & Boston Red Sox ahead  [ ... ]

Read more la
Raymond Lam's new girlfriend, wife-to-be Carina Zhang Xinyue supports him in Shanghai

On 30 Jun 2019, Raymond Lam Fung (39) was holding a concert in Shanghai and his new model girlfriend [ ... ]

Read more la
Fan Bingbing & husband hopeful Li Chen breaks up

On 27 Jun 2019, Fan Bingbing officially announces that she is breaking up with boyfriend and almost  [ ... ]

Read more la