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German cyber-security chief fears hackers could target hospitals, Europe News & Top Stories

BERLIN (REUTERS) – German hospitals may be at increased risk from hackers, the head of the country’s cyber-security agency said on Saturday (May 22), following two high-profile digital attacks this month on the Irish health service and a US fuel pipeline.

Ireland’s health service operator shut down its IT systems on May 14 to protect them from a “significant” ransomware attack. The move crippled diagnostic services, disrupted Covid-19 testing and forced the cancellation of many appointments.

German clinics have been targeted by a series of cyber attacks over the last five years.

Mr Arne Schoenbohm, president of the BSI federal cyber-security agency, told Zeit Online newspaper that he sees “a greater danger at hospitals”.

Earlier this month, the 8,850km US Colonial Pipeline system closed after one of the most disruptive cyber attacks on record, preventing millions of barrels of petrol, diesel and jet fuel from flowing to the American East Coast from the Gulf Coast.

Mr Schoenbohm said many German businesses were at increased risk of being targeted by hackers due to remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Many companies had to enable home offices within a short time,” he said, adding that as a result, many of their IT systems were vulnerable to attack.

“Companies often close known security gaps too slowly.”

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