France Seeks To Safeguard Hospitals Following A Spate Of Cyberattacks

After a series of cyberattacks against medical facilities, the French government announced on Wednesday a “massive training program” to help hospital staff guard against hackers.

The ministers of the interior, health and digital services stated in a joint statement, “By May 2023, the objective is for all of the most important health facilities to have completed these new exercises.”

The statement added that additional efforts will be made to disseminate best practices throughout French hospitals regarding “reactions and practices to adopt in the event of a cyber event.”

Cybercriminals lock down a hospital’s critical IT networks and data before demanding a ransom to release them.

In a case that occurred earlier this month, hackers infiltrated a major public hospital in Versailles, a suburb of Paris, causing the emergency ward and maternity unit to operate at approximately 50 percent and 30 percent capacity, respectively.

Another hospital south of Paris, in the suburb of Corbeil-Essonnes, was targeted by the same Lockbit ransomware in August.

The law prohibits public hospitals from paying ransoms, so they can’t do so.

As concerns about the vulnerability of the health system grew in February 2017, President Emmanuel Macron announced an additional billion euros for cybersecurity in the health sector.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, he referred to a spate of attacks as a “crisis within a crisis.”

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