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Cyber-Attack on Red Cross Leaves 515,000 People Vulnerable

24th Jan 2022

Hackers have breached The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a cyber-attack, by seizing more than 515,000 extremely vulnerable people’s data – some of whom have fled conflicts.

“A sophisticated cybersecurity attack against computer servers hosting information held by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was detected this week. The attack compromised personal data and confidential information on more than 515,000 highly vulnerable people, including those separated from their families due to conflict, migration and disaster, missing persons and their families, and people in detention.”

ICRC Statement

The body has no immediate signs that point to who might have executed the attack.

It’s alleged that the attackers targeted an external company in Switzerland which had been contracted out by the ICRC to store the data. There is no indication that the information gathered has been leaked to the public, so far.

“The most pressing concern is potential risks that come with this breach – including confidential information being shared publicly – for people that the Red Cross and Red Crescent network seeks to protect and assist, as well as their families”.

ICRC Statement

 

The data comprises of information from at least 60 Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies around the world.

“An attack on the data of people who are missing makes the anguish and suffering for families even more difficult to endure. We are all appalled and perplexed that this humanitarian information would be targeted and compromised,” said the ICRC director general, Robert Mardini.

“This cyber-attack puts vulnerable people, those already in need of humanitarian services, at further risk.”

Robert Mardini, ICRC Director General

 

Mardini also called out the attackers to “do the right thing – do not share, sell, leak or otherwise use this data”.

“Your actions could potentially cause yet more harm and pain to those who have already endured untold suffering.”

The result of this attack has meant the ICRC have had to shut down the computer systems vital in running its Restoring Family Links programme – designed to reunite family members separated during conflict, disaster or migration.

“We are working as quickly as possible to identify workarounds to continue this vital work.”

ICRC Statement

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