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Ransomware Attack On German Hospital Leaves Woman Dead

A ransomware attack at Dusseldorf Hospital in Germany left one woman dead. Prosecutors are investigating the case in what is considered to be the first death to be directly linked to a cyber attack.

Reports show that the hackers attacked the hospital’s systems and scrambled their data rendering them inoperable. The hospital was therefore unable to receive emergency patients at the facility, forcing them to send the woman to a different facility about 200 miles away.

Cologne prosecutors have launched a negligent homicide case against the hackers.

According to a report from a German News outlet, the hackers were not targeting the hospital but has instead written a ransom note for a nearby university. The hackers are said to have stopped the attack after authorities informed them that they had shut down the hospital’s operations.

Read: Slovenian Woman Found Guilty Of Chopping Off Her Hand For Insurance Payout

The female patient is said to have required life-saving treatment from Dusseldorf hospital but unfortunately, she had to be transferred to a hospital roughly 19 miles away, causing her death.

Former chief executive of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre Ciaran Martin said: “If confirmed, this tragedy would be the first known case of a death directly linked to a cyber-attack. It is not surprising that the cause of this is a ransomware attack by criminals rather than an attack by a nation state or terrorists.
“Although the purpose of ransomware is to make money, it stops systems working. So if you attack a hospital, then things like this are likely to happen. There were a few near misses across Europe earlier in the year and this looks, sadly, like the worst might have come to pass.”

Most cybersecurity experts have alluded to the fact that hospitals are prime targets for cyber attacks but lack adequate preparedness. According to the experts, services such as radiology require internet, without which the hospitals would not be able to treat their patients.

“If systems are disrupted over the internet, by an adversary or an accident, that can have a profound impact on patient care,” said Beau Woods, a cybersecurity advocate.

German authorities are investigating the death of the lady, and if it is determined that her death was caused due to the transfer to another hospital, the cyber attack could be treated as a homicide.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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