Whitefly held responsible for last year’s cyberattack on Singapore

Whitefly is a state-sponsored espionage group that has been very active in Singapore and has actively targeted its engineering, healthcare, telecoms and media sectors.

According to a statement from Symantec Corp, the worst ever cyberattack suffered by Singapore, which saw the personal information of more than 1.5 million people stolen including that of the Prime Minister, Whitefly a state-sponsored espionage group has been identified as the one responsible.

Authorities from Singapore said they believe the cyberattack was state linked. Hackers have been able to illegally access and copy the non-medical personal details of visitors to clinics between May 2015 and July 4, 2018; this includes those of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Security researchers at Symantec stated, Whitefly has targeted organizations across a range of sectors based mostly in Singapore and that its prime interest was stealing large amounts of sensitive information.

“Based on its tactics and targets, our assessment is that Whitefly is a state-sponsored espionage group. We can’t identify for certain who or what organization is directing or funding that activity,” said Symantec’s spokeswoman. “Whitefly’s tight focus on a limited number of targets in a single country leads us to believe they are likely a small- to medium-sized team.”

Symantec’s report states, last year’s attack was not a one-off attack, but part of a wider pattern targeting organizations in the southeast Asian island nation, including ones in the engineering sector, healthcare, telecoms and media.

According to the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, “As this is an independent investigation report by a commercial entity, we have no comment on its contents.”


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