SINGAPORE – Confidential information from 14,200 people living with HIV, including names, contact details and medical information, has been stolen and distributed online. The perpetrator is an American fraudster, reported the Ministry of Health on Monday (January 28).
Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, the man behind the leak, lived in Singapore from 2008 before being arrested in 2017 on charges of fraud and drug offenses, and lying to the Ministry of Labor for his own HIV status.
His partner was Ler Teck Siang, a Singapore-based physician who was the head of MOH's National Public Health Unit (NPHU) from March 201
Among the files that were leaked, 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV by January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners were diagnosed. By December 2011, MOH said at a press conference in the College of Medicine Building.
This included each person's name, ID, phone number, and address, HIV test results, and related medical information. The name, identification number, telephone number, and address of 2,400 people identified by contact tracking through May 2007 have also been recorded.
"We regret the anxiety and suffering caused by this incident," the ministry said in a statement.
"Our priority is the well-being of the people concerned," she added, saying that since Saturday (26 January) she has contacted the people concerned to inform and help them, and that she worked with the relevant parties to block access For information.
However, the information is still in the hands of Farrera-Brochez, who was deported after his detention in prison. Currently he stays outside of Singapore. On Monday, it became known that Farrera-Brochez, who was HIV-positive, had not only used his friend's blood for blood tests to work in Singapore, but had also been getting information that was illegally released from HIV Registers to which his friend had access as a doctor.
The recent non-cyber attack breach comes after Singapore's worst cyber attack in 2018. From June 27 to July 4 last year, hackers infiltrated the SingHealth computers and stole the personal information of 1, 5 million patients, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
33-year-old Farrera-Brochez, a polytechnic lecturer with an employment certificate, was sentenced to 28 months in prison in 2017 for crimes including fraud and possession of drugs.
Farrera-Brochez's friend, the Singaporean doctor Ler, 36, had submitted his own blood test instead of the American to help him get a work pass. Ler, who is still a registered doctor, was sentenced to two years in prison for ignoring scams and making a false statement to an official. He appeals.
The ministry announced last Tuesday that it had been notified by the police (January 22) that confidential information about HIV patients had been leaked, and issued a police report the following day (January 23).
Since 2016, additional safeguards against the misuse of information by authorized personnel have been made, including a two-person approval process for downloading and decrypting information.
MOH stressed that it will regularly review its systems to ensure that they remain safe and that the necessary safety precautions are taken.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told reporters Monday: "We are serious about this matter, our former staff has been charged in court and the case is pending and we will not hesitate to take serious action against employees who breach security policies Abuse authority or misuse their access to information. "
He added," I also understand the concerns, fears and concerns our affected patients face, and our priority is their well-being. "
" Forward We will further strengthen and review our systems to make sure they are safe, and the well-being of our patients will remain, and we will offer them all possible support and support. "
The Ministry of Health has set up a hotline for those who need additional information and consultants are also available support and, if necessary, provide additional support.
It has called on the public to notify the Ministry immediately if they receive information about the incident and do not share it. Persons with information or concerns may contact the MOH hotline at 6325-9220.
When they were contacted, the police said they were seeking the help of their foreign counterparts in their investigations.
"The police would like to remind the public that it is an offense under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) if individuals have the potentially disclosed confidential information, communicate it or use it. Do not hesitate to take strict action, including law enforcement against those who have violated the OSA, "said a spokesman.
A person found guilty of unlawful possession, communication or use of confidential information may be fined up to $ 2,000 and held for up to two years.