Major Duesseldorf hospital infected with ransomware, patient died for consequences

Pierluigi Paganini September 17, 2020

A major hospital in Duesseldorf was hit by a cyber attack, a woman who needed urgent admission died after she had to be hijacked to another city.

The news is shocking, German authorities revealed that a cyber attack hit a major hospital in Duesseldorf, the Duesseldorf University Clinic, and a woman who needed urgent admission died after she had to be taken to another city for treatment.

“The Duesseldorf University Clinic’s systems have been disrupted since last Thursday.” states the Associated Press.

The treatment for the women was delayed for an hour that caused the death of the patient.

The cyber attack took place last Thursday, since then the systems at the Duesseldorf University Clinic were not available. The authorities investigated the incident and discovered that the IT systems were disrupted by a cyber attack that targeted a widely used commercial add-on software.

The attack caused systems gradually crashing, it paralyzed the operations at the hospital and emergency patients were hijacked in other structures while surgical operations postponed.

The hospital confirmed that there was no concrete ransom demand and reported that there are no indications that data is irretrievably lost.

Currently the hospital is restoring its IT systems and resuming the operations. The news agency dpa reported that a report from North Rhine-Westphalia state’s justice minister revealed that the hospital was hit by a ransomware attack, which infected 30 servers at its network and an extortion note was found on one of the systems. The ransom note includes details to contact the attackers but doesn’t contain any sum.

Duesseldorf law enforcement contacted the ransomware gang and told them the hospital had been affected, endangering the life of patients. The ransomware operators then decided to withdraw the extortion attempt and provided a digital key to decrypt the data.

The justice minister’s report confirmed that the perpetrators are no longer reachable.

“Prosecutors launched an investigation against the unknown perpetrators on suspicion of negligent manslaughter because a patient in a life-threatening condition who was supposed to be taken to the hospital last Friday night was sent instead to a hospital in Wuppertal, a roughly 32-kilometer (20-mile) drive.” concludes the AP agency.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, ransomware)

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