Cyberattack On A Hospital Leads To The First Ransomware-Linked Death
Unless you are fully protected, the cost of a ransomware attack can be very steep.
Until now, it’s one that tends to be counted out in hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Ultimately, however, one such attack is being blamed for the loss of human life.
Databreaches.net tracked a report from German sources about the incident.
Some time ago, criminal hackers infected systems at University Hospital Düsseldorf with an as-yet-unnamed strain of ransomware.
Its impact was widespread. According to “Computer Bild” report, the attack “crippled the entire IT network of the hospital.” Days later, the phone system was brought back online, but other systems remained down.
German authorities contacted the attackers and appealed to decrypt the hospital’s files and restore operations. A decryption key was indeed sent, but not before tragedy struck.
While its systems remained unavailable, the Hospital was forced to cancel all surgical procedures. Ambulances were rerouted to other nearby hospitals.
One patient, however, arrived at the hospital in critical condition. Unable to be attended at the hospital, he passed away while being transported to another hospital for treatment.
This may well mark the first time that a human casualty has been linked to a ransomware attack.
It’s a bleak possibility that cybersecurity experts have been warning about for quite some time.
The death occurs just months after at least one cyber gang had publicly pledged to stop attacking health care providers.
Text in the ransom note left behind by the malware only serves to compound the tragedy. Authorities believe that the University itself appears to have been the target, not the Hospital.
There’s still another ugly problem the hospital must contend with. The impact of the ransomware attack went beyond forcing the Hospital to take systems offline. The perpetrators also claimed to have stolen patient data.
As if the system outage and loss of life weren’t enough, the Hospital must still determine how to resolve an extortion attempt.