‘Ramp up cybersecurity measures’

KUALA LUMPUR: While urging the authorities to quickly identify the source of the leak of almost 20,000 Malaysian medical records online, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is urging health facilities to prioritise investments in IT and cybersecurity to protect patients’ personal data.

Calling it “an extremely serious matter, ” its president Dr N. Ganabaskaran said MMA hopes the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), National Cyber Security Agency and the Health Ministry will quickly identify the source of the leak.

Dr Ganabaskaran said the strictest confidentiality of patient’s personal data must be ensured at all times.

“The highest level of web security must be practised at all health facilities.

“It is important for the cybersecurity features to also be up-to-date as cybersecurity threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated, ” he added.

Dr Ganabaskaran said all health facilities must prioritise investments in IT and cybersecurity as massive patients’ personal data are stored in their systems.

“Access to data must also be strictly controlled, ” he said.

Last Thursday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the ministry viewed the data leak seriously and has called for a special meeting with MCMC and National Cyber Security Agency to identify the source of the leak, revealed by Germany-based security firm Greenbone Networks.

Dr Dzulkefly was responding to the Sept 16 report by Greenbone Network report claiming that information on 19,992 radiological reports from Malaysia was freely accessible on computer servers worldwide.

Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said that it was still premature to make any comments as none of its members had been informed which hospital patient data had been compromised.

“Before we take any action, we will wait for the Health Ministry and the related agencies to investigate.

“As far as APHM private hospitals are concerned, we maintain strict confidentiality of patients’ records, ” he said.

APHM represents more than 140 private hospitals and medical centres in Malaysia.

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