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Ransomware attack at German hospital leads to death of patient

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A person in a life-threatening condition passed away after being forced to go to a more distant hospital due to a ransomware attack. On September 10th, the University Hospital Düsseldorf (UKD) in Germany suffered a ransomware attack after threat actors compromised their network a software vulnerability in “a commercial add-on software that is common in the market and used worldwide.”

According to Germany’s cybersecurity agency Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI), the attackers exploited the Citrix ADC CVE-2019-19781 vulnerability.

“In this context, the BSI emphasizes that a vulnerability (CVE-2019-19781) that has been known since January 2020 in VPN products from Citrix for Cyber-Attacks being exploited,” BSI revealed in a statement.

Patches for the Citrix ADC vulnerability have been available since January 2020.

With their IT systems disrupted, the hospital announced that planned and outpatient treatments and emergency care could not occur at the hospital.

Those seeking emergency care were instead redirected to more distant hospitals for treatment.

German media reports that the police contacted the ransomware operators via the ransom note instructions and explained that their target was a hospital.

The ransom notes left on the hospital’s encrypted servers were incorrectly addressed to Heinrich Heine University, rather than the hospital itself.

After the police contacted the threat actors and explained that they encrypted a hospital, the ransomware operators withdrew the ransom demand and provided a decryption key.

“The Düsseldorf police then actually made contact and informed the perpetrators that a hospital – and not the university – was affected by their hacking attack. This puts patients at considerable risk. The perpetrators then withdrew the extortion and handed over a digital key with which the data can be decrypted again,” German media NTV reported.

Since receiving the key, the hospital has slowly been restoring systems, and investigations concluded that data was likely not stolen.

Patient dies after forced to go to another hospital

A patient in a life-threatening condition

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