The pro-Russian cybercriminal group Killnet has claimed responsibility for a cyber attack on the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). Killnet made the announcement via its Telegram channel, threatening more digital attacks in the near future.
The group announced they would attack countries that actively support Ukraine in the war against Russia, including the Netherlands. It is unclear whether other hospitals will also be targeted, NU.nl reports.
The website of UMCG has been inaccessible since Saturday afternoon on January 28. The cause was a DDoS attack, an operation that overloads a website’s server, making it impossible to handle the incoming traffic and consequently shutting it down.
In a statement released after the attack, the hospital said its information system and the patient portal were not affected, as they rely on a different IT network. Z-CERT, an expertise centre for cybersecurity in healthcare, said “there are no indications that there have been any risks to patient safety.”
In a second statement, released on January 30, the UMCG declared that the website is “largely available” again after providing an “extra line of defence” to UMCG servers.
According to the UMCG spokesperson, interviewed by NU.nl, it seems that the DDoS attack is coming in waves. “Sometimes it stops for a while, and then it starts again. At the moment, it is quiet, but we do not know whether it will really stop now,” the spokesperson said.
Killnet is a hacker group which has become known for carrying out DDoS attacks against government agencies and companies since the war in Ukraine began. Several British, Spanish and Norwegian hospitals are also said to be targets of Killnet. Besides DDoS, their operations include phishing frauds, in which cyber criminals try to steal sensitive information and personal data from users and organizations.
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