It has long been no secret that some hacker attacks can lead to incredibly dire consequences. According to BBC News, the prosecutor's office in Cologne (Germany) has opened an investigation into the death of a patient at a university hospital in Dusseldorf, which was caused by hacker actions and qualifies as a murder by negligence.
The tragedy was caused by a September 9 ransomware attack on the emergency service website, forcing its staff to send a patient in need of emergency care to a hospital 30 km away.
However, according to local media, the hackers were "aiming" at another university and were not going to create problems for the hospital. Moreover, they even provided their ransomware decryption key for free as soon as they realized the error.
However, no matter how well-intentioned the attackers were, this incident could have been avoided. Hackers took advantage of a known vulnerability in VPN software, and Germany's Cybersecurity Authority said it had warned about it back in January. The fact that the cybersecurity of budgetary institutions has serious problems is nothing new, but the consequences of this error turned out to be fatal.
According to former UK security officer Kiaran Martin, if the investigation confirms the connection of the patient's death to a cyber attack, then other hospitals and critical facilities will need to strengthen their cyber security system to avoid such tragedies.