The FBI thwarted a planned cyberattack on a children’s hospital in Boston that was to have been carried out by hackers sponsored by the Iranian government, FBI Director Christopher Wray says.
Wray tells a Boston College cybersecurity conference that his agents learned of the planned digital attack from an unspecified intelligence partner and got Boston Children’s Hospital the information it needed last summer to block what would have been “one of the most despicable cyberattacks I’ve seen.”
“And quick actions by everyone involved, especially at the hospital, protected both the network and the sick kids who depended on it,” Wray says.
The FBI chief mentions the anecdote in a broader speech about ongoing cyberthreats from Russia, China and Iran and the need for partnerships between the US government and the private sector.
He says the bureau and Boston Children’s Hospital had worked closely together after a hacktivist attacked the hospital’s computer network in 2014 in an attack that cost the facilities tens of thousands of dollars and disrupted operations for days.
“Children’s and our Boston office already knew each other well — before the attack from Iran — and that made a difference,” Wray said.
He did not ascribe a particular motive to the planned attack on the hospital, but he noted that Iran and other countries have been hiring cyber mercenaries to conduct attacks on their behalf.