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Cyber criminals demand $10M ransom to release French hospital

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Cyber attacks generally speaking are never good, and can potentially ruin lives with stolen data, or locked access to much-needed computers. However, it's a special kind of evil when used against hospitals, disrupting important medical systems.

Unfortunately, attacks like these are not unheard of (opens in new tab), and earlier this year the Costa Rican healthcare system was held hostage by crypto-hackers (opens in new tab). Now, according to BleepingComputer (opens in new tab), an attack is disrupting the Center Hospitalier Sud Francilien in France. The CHSF, which is about 28km (or 17 miles) south of Paris, is currently having to turn patients away and postpone surgeries due to the ransomware.

The 1,000-bed hospital was attacked on Sunday and still hasn't regained control of its systems. This not only affects things like the hospital's business software but also patient admissions and storage, including that of medical imaging. Patients are still being assessed at the CHSF, but many require transfers to other medical centres to get the treatment they require.

"This attack on the computer network makes the hospital's business software, the storage systems (in particular medical imaging), and the information system relating to patient admissions inaccessible for the time being," a translation from the CHSF announcement explains.

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According to French publication Le Monde (opens in new tab), the attackers are demanding a $10 million ransom to release a decryption key to free up the hospital's systems. Targeting a hospital for what looks like just the demand of money is just the lowest move, even for ransomware attackers.

Authorities aren't sure who the culprits of the attack are as of yet, but suspect the LockBit 3.5 ransomware is being used. LockBit as an organisation states that attacks on hospitals are not allowed with its ransomware, so if that is the case the attackers might find themselves in trouble from both ends of the law. 

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast (opens in new tab) right here.

No, she’s not kidding.