Singapore’s national healthcare IT provider, Synapxe, has announced plans to enhance its defenses against cyber attacks following a recent incident that crippled the web services of public hospitals and polyclinics. In collaboration with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, Synapxe confirmed that a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack was responsible for the seven-hour disruption on November 1.
A DDoS attack occurs when malicious actors flood servers with a high volume of internet traffic, effectively rendering online services inaccessible to legitimate users. To combat this, Synapxe intends to reinforce its system design to ensure greater resilience against evolving DDoS attack methods. In addition, the IT provider will establish improved operating processes that involve enhanced monitoring and tighter coordination to quickly identify threats and activate appropriate defensive measures.
These measures will bolster Synapxe’s ability to respond to future attacks, safeguarding the reliability and accessibility of public healthcare systems. Although the company already employs a layered defense system, which incorporates system backups, blocking services to prevent abnormal traffic surges, and firewalls, the November 1 incident revealed a vulnerability that led to the bypassing of blocking services and the subsequent overload of Synapxe’s firewall.
Synapxe affirms that no evidence suggests a compromise of public healthcare data or internal networks during the attack, and critical systems for clinical services remained unaffected. Nevertheless, the disruption caused a blackout of all internet-dependent services, hindering access to websites, emails, and internal productivity tools in public hospitals, polyclinics, and the Institute of Mental Health.
To learn more about the specific changes being implemented by Synapxe, The Straits Times has reached out to the IT provider for additional information regarding its system and process upgrades.
Q1: What is a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack?
A1: A DDoS attack refers to a cyber attack in which servers are flooded with a significant amount of internet traffic, causing online services to become unavailable to legitimate users.
Q2: How will Synapxe enhance its defenses against DDoS attacks?
A2: Synapxe plans to bolster its system design to ensure greater resilience against evolving DDoS attack methods. Additionally, the IT provider intends to establish improved operating processes that involve enhanced monitoring and tighter coordination to swiftly address threats.