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Patient Death Follows Hospital Ransomware Attack

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September 22, 2020

After what apparently was a misdirected ransomware attack, a woman was unable to get emergency treatment at a Dusseldorf, Germany, hospital and had to be transported to another facility. The approximately one hour delay is said to have cost the woman her life. The extortionists apparently were targeting Heinrich Heine University and were unaware their project knocked out servers at the university’s affiliate hospital. After being contacted by police, they withdrew their demand and provided a digital key to decrypt the data, but that remedy came too late. Last year in the U.S. alone there were 764 healthcare facility ransomware attacks, according to a cybersecurity company that tracks them, but this may have been the first where a patient’s death was a direct result. Such an outcome was “pretty much inevitable,” said one of the company’s threat analysts.

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