So far, insiders have referred to the ransomware as a simple attack on the computer systems of a company or organization, with the aim of extorting blackmail.
Now, however, what some had predicted, namely the great danger also for people, has become a sad reality. In fact, in Germany a woman died while she was being transported to another hospital after the one she was in had seen the computer systems blocked by a hacker attack.
What happened in Düsseldorf
The German police decided to start a murder investigation after the death of a woman in the course of a cyber attack on the University Hospital of Düsseldorf.
The patient was due to undergo life-saving surgery on 9 September, just as the attack was taking place, and was then transferred to the hospital in Wuppertal, about 30 kilometers away. However, she was unable to survive during the transfer.
Time the Cologne public prosecutor's office could open a proceeding, against unknown persons, for manslaughter.
Didn't the hackers intend to attack the hospital?
According to some reports made after the tragic event, the hackers did not intend to attack the hospital's computer systems. But they were targeting a university facility instead.
When they realized the mistake made they tried to remedy what was happening. They therefore provided the decryption key to return the attached computers to normal activity, without asking for the usual ransom in cryptocurrencies which is the normal corollary to this kind of activity.
Immediately after the event, the German national cybersecurity authority took action within the hospital with the aim of helping its IT staff to restore attacked systems to normal.
A flaw in the VPN developed by Citrix
He was the president of authority, Arne Schönbohm, claiming that the hackers developed their attack by relying on a known vulnerability in a VPN (virtual private network) software developed by Citrix.
Of which other organizations have been warned, so that they can protect themselves and avoid flanking attacks of this kind. Above all, many structures were invited to remedy the defects found in time. Without delay, just to avoid cases such as the one that culminated in the loss of a human life from happening again.
More and more hospitals attacked by hackers
Unfortunately, many expected that sooner or later what happened in Germany could happen. In fact, for months now, hospitals have been the subject of ransomware attacks by cyber pirates. Even after the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, although it was clear that the situation created was extremely dangerous for patients.
If in this case there was a strong element of chance to generate the tragic ending, nevertheless it was quite predictable that sooner or later something very serious could have happened.
The attack on Spallanzani
Among the many structures subject to attacks of this kind, there was also one Spallanzani of Rome. That is one of the hospitals that have most distinguished themselves in the work of fighting the virus.
In that case, the hypothesis that the real objective of the attack was to be found in the will of find extremely important health information. Such that they can be used by other subjects in research aimed at finding a vaccine against Covid. Not exactly an extravagant hypothesis, considering the interests, and the money, at stake.