The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been the victim of a massive cyber attack. The ICRC reports on its website that hackers have seized data from more than 515,000 “extremely vulnerable people”, some of whom were fleeing conflict.
“A sophisticated cybersecurity attack was discovered this week on computer servers hosting information held by the International Committee of the Red Cross,” it said in a statement. “The attack compromised personal data and confidential information of more than 515,000 highly vulnerable people.” It concerns people who are looking for relatives after they have lost sight of them due to a disaster, conflict situation or detention.
The international aid organization has no idea who carried out the attack. So far, no data from at least 60 national Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations appear to have been leaked. The Dutch Red Cross is currently investigating whether data from the Dutch Red Cross is also on the affected servers, it writes on its website.
The ICRC is deeply concerned about the potential risks to people it tries to protect if its confidential information is made public. “An attack on missing people’s data makes the fear and suffering of the families even more difficult to bear. We are all appalled and appalled that this humanitarian information was targeted and compromised,” said ICRC head Robert Mardini. “This cyber-attack puts vulnerable people who already need humanitarian assistance at risk.”
The attack forces the ICRC to shut down the computer systems on which the data is stored. A temporary solution is being sought “to continue this vital work,” the organization said.