Hackers threaten to release stolen medical files on Netanyahu, Haredi leaders

Information comes from ransomware attack on the Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

File: View of Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, April 13, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
File: View of Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, April 13, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Cyberhackers have threatened to release sensitive medical information that they say they stole from a Haredi hospital on politicians and rabbis, unless they are paid a hefty ransom of millions of dollars.

The hackers who are threatening to release data on patients of Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak made their demands known Wednesday, according to Israel Hayom.

The article does not specify the sum they are seeking but says it is tens of millions of shekels.

The stolen information includes hundreds of thousands of documents containing private and confidential information, including some that relate to psychiatric care, according to Israel Hayom. The hackers claim the files refer to notable personalities, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, lawmakers, rabbinical leaders and well-known individuals in Haredi circles.

Netanyahu was treated in 2015 at Mayanei HaYeshua for his prostate.

A hacker group called Ranger Locker targeted the hospital earlier this month, disrupting its computer system. Mayanei HaYeshua in a statement Wednesday said that information leaked during that cyberattack. The hospital is looking into the “implications” of the leak. The statement said that the attack was “financially motivated” and the hospital isn’t negotiating with the hackers.

Ranger Locker is not known to be affiliated with any organization or state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media after receiving the first vaccination against the coronavirus in Israel, at Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan, on December 19, 2020. (Flash90)

Hackers from the Iranian Black Shadow group targeted Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera in a 2021 ransomware attack. Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point reported that year that Israeli institutions cope with twice as many cyberattacks as the average in other countries. Israel’s country’s health sector alone endures an average of 1,443 attacks a week, according to the 2021 report by Check Point.

Education and research are the most heavily targeted sectors worldwide and in Israel, the report said, followed by government and security organizations, followed by health institutions.

In 2021, one in every 60 Israeli organizations or firms was targeted with a ransomware attack, an increase of 30 percent over the rate in 2020, Check Point said at the time.

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