FBI Director Wray Comments on Attempted Hack on Boston Children’s Hospital

June 2, 2022
Last summer, the FBI thwarted an attack by an Iranian-sponsored hacker group on Boston Children’s Hospital’s computer system—on June 1, FBI Director Christopher Wray commented on the incident at the Boston Conference on Cyber Security

A June 1 article from the Boston Globe reported FBI Director Christopher Wray said that a hacker group sponsored by the Iranian government attempted in the summer of 2021 to carry out a cyberattack on the computer system at Boston Children’s Hospital.

The article states that “The attempted hack, which was revealed as increasingly advanced cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure continue to surge, was thwarted by the FBI’s Boston field office last summer after the agency was tipped off by an unspecified intelligence partner.”

“Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division, added that the attack was caught early enough to prevent any damage to the network or the hospital’s data,” the article adds. “He declined to discuss the specific nature of the attack in detail, citing security reasons.”

Wray spoke at the sixth annual Boston Conference on Cyber Security at Boston College on June 1 about this incident. After speaking about Chinese and Russian nation state attacks, he said, “In fact, in the summer of 2021, hackers sponsored by the Iranian government tried to conduct one of the most despicable cyberattacks I’ve seen—right here in Boston—when they decided to go after Boston Children’s Hospital.”

“Let me repeat that, Boston Children’s Hospital,” he added.

Wray said that the FBI was able to get the hospital’s team the information needed to stop the attack and were able to assist them identify and mitigate the threat. He said that the quick actions by all parties—particularly Boston Children’s Hospital—protected not only the network, but the patients.

“It’s a great example of why we deploy in the field the way we do, enabling that kind of immediate, before-catastrophe-strikes response,” he commented.

Ransomware and cyberattacks continue to plague the healthcare industry—an industry that often takes a considerable period to recover from such attacks.

Also on June 1, David Raths, Contributing Senior Editor of Healthcare Innovation reported that “A global survey of healthcare IT executives found that 44 percent of healthcare organizations that suffered an attack in the last year took up to a week to recover from the most significant attack, and 25 percent of them took up to one month.”

The State of Ransomware in Healthcare 2022 survey from cybersecurity solutions provider Sophos polled 5,600 IT professionals from 31 countries, including 381 in healthcare,” he wrote. “In the survey, 66 percent in healthcare said their organization was hit by ransomware in 2021 compared to 34 percent who responded to the survey the previous year.”

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