FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Wednesday that Iranian government-sponsored hackers attempted a “vile” cyber attack on Boston Children’s Hospital last year that threatened to disrupt services to patients.
In a speech at a conference hosted by Boston College, he detailed the incident as he warned of the growing threat of cyber-attacks sponsored by countries such as Iran, Russia and China on US businesses and infrastructure.
“We received a report from one of our intelligence partners indicating that Boston Children’s Hospital was about to be targeted, and understanding the urgency of the situation, the electronic squad in our Boston field office scrambled to notify the hospital,” Ray said.
The FBI said it contacted the hospital in August 2021, and Wray said officials were quickly able to provide the nationally popular Children’s Hospital with the information it needed to “immediately stop the danger” and mitigate the threat.
“Swift action by everyone involved, especially at the hospital, resulted in the protection of both the network and the sick children who depend on it,” Ray said in the most comprehensive disclosure by US authorities of the incident.
Wuri said in March that in June 2021, Iranian-sponsored hackers had hacked an unnamed children’s hospital.
Boston Children’s Hospital, a 395-bed facility, confirmed in a statement that the FBI and its staff had “proactively thwarted the threat to our network.”
Ray described the incident as “one of the most despicable cyberattacks I have ever seen” and an example of the increasing risks that hospitals and critical infrastructure providers face from hackers, including those sponsored by the state.
“If malicious cyber actors are going to intentionally cause destruction, or hold data and systems for ransom, they tend to hit us somewhere that will really hurt us,” Ray said.
© Thomson Reuters 2022