The FBI revealed classified information this week that the agency thwarted an Iranian cyber attack on a Children’s Hospital that could have killed hundreds of innocent children.
FBI Director Christopher Wray told a cybersecurity conference about the previously classified information.
According to Wray the FBI was tipped off by an unspecified intelligence partner that Iran was preparing to attack Boston Children’s Hospital. Wray called it “one of the sickest cyber attacks I’ve seen”.
Wray explained that his team had already established a relationship with Boston Children’s Hospital before finding out about the attack, allowing them to work together to thwart the attack and save the kids.
“Children’s and our Boston office already knew each other well – before the attack from Iran – and that made a difference…And quick actions by everyone involved, especially at the hospital, protected both the network and the sick kids who depended on it.”
While Wray did not offer any other specifics on the attack such as motive, he did note that Iran along with Russia and China have resorted to hiring “cyber mercenaries”. These are non-state actors who are paid to hack foreign infrastructure and wreak havoc on other countries.
The FBI Director also noted that more organizations and companies need to work directly with the FBI when cyberattacks occur. He said that this information is critical when it comes time to track down the hackers and find their physical location.
Despite the impressive work stopping this attack, the FBI has frequently been criticized for putting more effort into the investigation than helping the actual victims.
Earlier this year Ohio Senator Rob Portman, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, issued an official report that said the FBI has “prioritized its investigative and prosecutorial efforts to disrupt attacker operations over victims’ need to protect data and mitigate damage.”
Many Americans have come to distrust the FBI for this reason amongst others. Do you think it essential to have some sort of law enforcement agency like the FBI to handle attacks like the one from Iran or should it be handled locally?