Cyber Attack On US Children's Hospital

In June 2021, hackers working for the Iranian government attempted to break into and damage computer systems at Boston Children’s Hospital. This exploit has now been confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray who explained this at the Boston College Cyber Security Conference.

The attempted cyber attack took place in June 2021, the attackers exploited popular software made by California-based firm Fortinet to control the hospital's computer network. The FBI was able to help thwart the hackers before they did damage to the hospital's computer network, said FBI Director Wray.

It remains unclear what was the reason behind the cyber attack on the hospital. Boston Children's Hospital has more than 400-beds and is considered one of the premier pediatric centers in the US. The FBI was able to help stop the hackers before they managed to do any damage, according to Wray,

Wray cited this attempt as an example of the potential high-impact hacking threats that the US faces from the governments of Iran, Russia, China and North Korea.

"We cannot let up on China or Iran or criminal syndicates while we're focused on Russia," Wray said in a speech at Boston College. He said the bureau and Boston Children’s Hospital had worked closely together after a hacktivist attacked the hospital’s computer network in 2014. 

In 2014, a US citizen named Martin Gottesfeld launched a  cyber attack at the hospital to protest the care of a teenager at the center of a high-profile custody battle and later was subsequentoy sentenced to 10 years in prison. The Gottesfeld attack cost the facilities tens of thousands of dollars and disrupted operations for days. “Children’s and our Boston office already knew each other well, before the attack from Iran, and that made a difference,” Wray said.

The FBI and other federal agencies have been working to assure hacking victims that it is in their best interest to report intrusions and cyber crimes. Many companies attacked by ransomware gangs often don’t go to the FBI for a variety of reasons.

One unnamed Fortune 500 company told committee staff that the FBI did not offer any “helpful assistance” when responding to a ransomware attack. “For example, the FBI offered their hostage negotiator who appeared to have little expertise in responding to ransomware attacks,” the report said. 

JPost:      PBS:    CNN:       WSJ:      Reuters:     ABC:      FoxNews:     Times of Israel:

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