Red Cross suffers huge cyberattack with over half a million people exposed

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has fallen victim to a big cyberattack which led to 515,000 people having their data seized by hackers.

The ICRC said in a statement, “A sophisticated cyber security attack against computer servers hosting information held by the International Committee of the Red Cross 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.”

The Geneva-based organisation claimed it had no ‘immediate indication’ as to who may have been the perpetrator. However, it mentioned that the hackers targeted an external company in Switzerland that the ICRC contracts to store data.

The ICRC noted that its most pressing concern was the ‘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 director-general Robert Mardini remarked, “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.

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

For those who stole the data, Mardini called on them to ‘do the right thing’ and not share, sell, leak or use the data. He added, “Your actions could potentially cause yet more harm and pain to those who have already endured untold suffering.”

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