A Woman Died Due to a Ransomware Attack, Indirectly!
A Woman Died Due to a Ransomware Attack, Indirectly!

A woman in Germany has reportedly died after being sent to a distant hospital which delayed her emergency treatment for an hour. She was redirected to another hospital because the one she reached initially hadn’t admitted her because of deregistered services caused by a wrong ransomware attack. Prosecutors are now investigating the incident to check if it’s negligent manslaughter!

A Mistaken Ransomware Attack!

While ransomware attacks significantly impact the routine course of business, it’s mostly limited to the delaying of services but never taking lives. But an incident recorded in Germany had this fate. As reported by NTV and BleepingComputer, unknown ransomware attackers have encrypted the network of University Hospital Düsseldorf (UKD) on September 10th.

This led the hospital to deregister emergency and outpatient services until the systems are back. At this time, a woman in a life-threatening stage has arrived at the hospital, but was redirected to another hospital 32 kilometers away. This long drive of one hour has delayed the emergency treatment that should be received by the woman to be saved.

Later, a chat made by Germany police with the ransomware hackers as per the guidelines on the ransom note revealed that the attack was actually planned against Heinrich Heine University! This realization led attackers to give out the decryption key for free and led the hospital restoring its services slowly.

Meanwhile, a German cybersecurity firm named Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI) reported that the ransomware attackers have exploited a bug in the hospital’s Citrix VPN software. The vulnerability was tracked as CVE-2019-19781, which was initially spotted in January this year.

Though Citrix has released patches for this, institutions like Düsseldorf hospital haven’t applied it yet. This led the prosecutors to investigate the woman’s death as possible negligent manslaughter.

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