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FBI probes cyberattack that has left Lurie Children's Hospital offline for over a week

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | February 13, 2024
Cyber Security Health IT

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Dr. Eric Chan-Tin, an associate professor of computer science at Loyola University Chicago, said that it is hard to determine the severity of the situation due to the little information that Lurie Children’s has so far disclosed. But, he says, depending on how severe the situation is, the hospital may need weeks or months to fully recover.

“Hospitals are good targets for hackers because they are critical infrastructure, and they have a lot of private data, which is worth a lot of money,” he said.

Back in 2021, the FBI investigated another cyberattack on Boston’s Children’s Hospital orchestrated by the Iranian government to impede patient access to care. FBI Director Christopher Wray said his organization was able to help the hospital “stop the danger right away,” and that Iran and other countries are hiring cyber mercenaries to carry out attacks on their behalf, with healthcare providers being a prime target.

Attacks are also becoming more sophisticated and effective. Earlier this month, it was revealed that hackers were able to use a series of phishing schemes to defraud the Department of Health and Human Services out of $7.5 million in civilian grant payments throughout most of 2023. They did this by manipulating the Payment Management System used by HHS and other government sectors, including the Executive Office of the President, to withdraw millions of dollars in funds meant for five grantees.

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