Cyber specialists fear hackers may target hospitals

German hospitals could be at greater risk from hackers, the head of the country's cybersecurity agency said on Saturday

Europe: German hospitals could be at greater risk from hackers, the head of the country’s cybersecurity agency said on Saturday after two sensational digital attacks on the Irish health service this month and on a US fuel pipeline.

The health service operator of Ireland closed its IT systems last Friday to protect it from a “significant” attack on ransomware, which paralyzes diagnostic services, disrupts the testing of COVID-19 and forces the cancellation of many appointments.

A series of cyberattacks have targeted German clinics over the past five years, and Arne Schoenbohm, president of the BSI federal cybersecurity agency, told the Zeit Online newspaper he saw “a greater danger at hospitals”.

Earlier in May, the US US Colonial Pipeline Co [RIC: RIC: COLPI.UL] shut down a 5,500 mile (850 km) system after one of the most disruptive cyberattacks recorded, preventing millions of barrels of petrol, diesel and jet fuel of flow to the East Coast from the Gulf Coast.

Schoenbohm said many German businesses run the risk of being targeted by hackers as a result of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many companies had to turn on home offices in a short period of time,” he said, adding that as a result, many of their IT systems were vulnerable to attacks.

“Companies often close known security gaps too slowly.”