A hospital in the Düsseldorf region of Germany was the victim of a serious ransomware attack by hackers last Thursday (10) that may have caused the death of a person. Local authorities are investigating whether the invasion of the institution’s servers is directly linked to the death of a woman who was unable to receive care.
According to the Associated Press, it all started with the hijacking of several servers at Heinrich Heine University, which had the internal system fully encrypted, becoming unavailable for use. According to a ransom note sent by those responsible, access would only be released upon payment, a measure that is not recommended by experts.
Because of the situation, the hospital was unable to admit new patients in an emergency. An injured woman who would need care at the scene was directed to another care unit (in Wuppertal, more than 30 km away) and could not resist the injuries on the way.
Investigation in progress
Apparently, the target of the attack was the university responsible for the hospital – and the passkey was provided after the person responsible for the coup was contacted.
The police are now chasing those responsible for the attack, as the prosecution goes far beyond cyber crimes and could involve negligent homicide. There is still no official confirmation on the relationship between the kidnapping of servers and the patient’s death, but this is the most likely hypothesis so far.
This is not the first time that ransomware has hampered hospital care: these were some of the targets of WannaCry, the scam that marked the cybersecurity world in 2017.