Cybersecurity for Healthcare Providers

12 Jun 2023

Cybersecurity Landscape and Context


Why is cybersecurity important?

Cybersecurity is critical to the provision of quality and safe healthcare services in ensuring patient safety and welfare. This requires an adequate allocation of resources and trained personnel to oversee information security, ensure business continuity, and safeguard important patient data.

Locally, cybercrime is on the rise across all sectors. 9,430 cases of cybercrime were reported in 2019, which represented a 51.7% increase from 2018 , and which accounted for 26.8% of all crime in Singapore in 20191.

Cybersecurity Agency Singapore (CSA): Singapore’s Safer Cyberspace Masterplan 2020

What are some common breaches in healthcare?

Cyber-attacks and breaches are not new or unique to Singapore’s healthcare sector, and healthcare industries based overseas are similarly impacted. These range from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, phishing emails, malware (e.g. ransomware), attacks on connected medical devices, and insider, accidental or intentional data loss.

Cybersecurity risk = Business risk = Healthcare risk

Cyber-attacks are particularly threatening to the healthcare sector. The proliferation and increased connectivity of Health information technology (IT), which consists of networked systems, wireless technology, and software medical devices amongst others, mean that organisations are more susceptible to cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks on healthcare organisations can lead to serious consequences such as interruptions to business operations, compromised patient data, patient safety issues, financial losses, as well as reputational damage.

As such, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is carefully studying and tracking the cybersecurity landscape of the healthcare sector and is considering the need for enforceable standards in future.