FBI director accuses Iran of attempting ‘despicable’ cyberattack on Boston Children’s Hospital | CNN Politics


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Iranian government-backed hackers were behind an attempt to hack into Boston Children’s Hospital’s computer network last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday, calling it “the ‘one of the most despicable cyberattacks I’ve ever seen’.

The FBI was able to help thwart the hackers before they damaged the hospital’s computer network, according to Wray, but he cited it as an example of the potential high-impact hacking threats the United States is facing. faced by the governments of Iran, Russia, China and North Korea.

“We cannot abandon China or Iran or the criminal syndicates while we focus on Russia,” Wray said in a speech at Boston College.

The hack, which took place in June 2021, saw the attackers exploit popular software made by California-based company Fortinet to control the hospital’s computer network, according to US officials.

It is unclear what the attackers’ ultimate goals were. Boston Children’s Hospital is a 400+ bed facility and is considered one of the leading pediatric centers in the United States.

Wray previously said in March that hackers linked to the Iranian government were behind a cyberattack on a children’s hospital, but he did not name the hospital.

CNN has asked the hospital and Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations for comment.

The incident was one of several that sparked a public warning last November from the FBI and other agencies that Iranian government-backed hackers were targeting a range of organizations in the transportation and transportation sectors. health care.

This is a rare case where the US government has publicly linked Iran to ransomware, which is typically used by cybercriminals rather than governments. But US officials and private analysts have long warned of collusion between foreign governments and criminal hacking groups.

As for potential Russian hacking threats against the United States, the FBI was on “combat tempo,” with a 24/7 command post, during the Kremlin war in Ukraine, a added Wray.

“We have seen the Russian government take specific preparatory measures for the potential destruction [cyber]attacks, here and abroad,” he added.

Such “destructive” hacking – in which data or systems are destroyed – has not been reported in the United States since Russia invaded Ukraine. But suspected Russian hackers have carried out a series of destructive hacks in Ukraine, and US officials are warning companies not to let their guard down.

The same network access obtained by Russian agents to gather intelligence could be used for destructive hacking, Wray warned. “That’s why, when it comes to Russia today, we try to act as soon as possible – as far as possible from the “boom”, as they say).

“We are ensuring that their cyber activities become more destructive as the war continues to go badly for them,” Wray said Wednesday.


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