Ransomware has become a popular form of attack in recent years growing 350% back in 2018. Now, in 2020, reports state that this malicious software will cause over 20 billion dollars in losses.
It was also estimated that the number of ransomware attacks on the healthcare sector will quadruple by 2020. However, no one foresaw that one day, a ransomware attack might end up with the death of an individual.
For the first time ever, Germany has witnessed a casualty as a consequence of a cyberattack that targeted its Düsseldorf University Hospital.
What is described now as a Negligent Homicide, shook the online world. So, what is this all about? What happened to the hospital’s systems during the attack? Let’s shed some light on the matter.
As we mentioned, the number of ransomware attacks was estimated to increase in 2020. However, no security expert has ever anticipated that such attacks might take a human life.
Around 582 information security professionals stated that they don’t believe their organizations are prepared to fend off ransomware attacks.
And again, no one saw this coming as it’s the first of its kind. This is practically murder and investigations are on-going now.
What’s worse, aside from the death of a 78-year old lady, of course, is that the cyberattack was not intentional. Well, not for this hospital anyway.
The attackers had their eyes on another University the goes by the same name, yet they got the hospital instead.
The attack exploited a Citrix ADC CVE-2019-19781 vulnerability that crippled the hospital systems and affected 30 internal servers in the hospital’s network.
This affected health care operations, forcing the hospital to deregister itself from the emergency care providers list in the process.
September 10, 2020, was a tragic day for Düsseldorf, and if it wasn’t for this cyberattack, the lady would’ve been alive now.
Her medical history was stored on the systems of the health care providers in the hospital. When the attack happened, she was on her way to the emergency ward.
The cyberattack forbade the doctors for accessing her files as it locked down all of the hospital’s systems, which forced the emergency responders in the ambulance to shift her to another hospital in Wuppertal.
Unfortunately, the other hospital is 19 miles away, and due to the unavailability of the lady’s records, nothing could be done by the doctors, resulting in her breathing her last breath.
Cybercrime prosecutor in the German city of Cologne Christoph Hebbecker is treating the incident as a negligent homicide. Here’s what he stated:
“An initial suspicion with regard to negligent homicide is justified.”
Further investigation is on-going to reveal all the evidence to help catch the attackers. They’re not cybercriminals anymore; they’re, murderers.
Düsseldorf University Hospital’s Ransomware Fatality – Final Thoughts
Cybercrime is on the rise and ransomware is one common way to commit it. The attacker will target your data and deny you access to them.
After that, they’ll ask you for a ransom, with a promise to restore them when the debt is paid. Such attacks are all over the world, which means you have to learn how to fend them off.
Knowledge in this department is everything, it can save your sensitive data and (based on this incident), your life. There are a lot of sources such as The VPN Guru that provide proper guidance in enhancing online security and privacy.
Take a look at the guides offered there and learn how to protect yourself from such attacks and shield your private information from malicious entities.