Hackers, backed by the Iranian government, tried a cyberattack against Boston Children's Hospital last August, which could have disrupted healthcare services, FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed on Wednesday in what he called "one of the most reprehensible cyberattacks I've ever seen," the Boston Herald reported.
Wray, who made the remarks at Boston College, where he was the keynote speaker during their annual conference on cybersecurity, said that the FBI informed the hospital last Aug. 10 that an attack by Iranian hackers was imminent.
The FBI added in a release that "over the next 10 days the Boston Division coordinated and met with representatives from Boston Children's Hospital on at least seven occasions to provide support ... and address any concern with the [advanced persistent threat] actors' activity."
Although the FBI managed to help thwart the hackers before they did damage to the hospital's computer network, Wray cited the incident as an example of the potential serious threats that the U.S. faces from the governments of Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea, CNN reported.
The FBI director had previously said in March that Tehran-linked hackers were behind a cyberattack on a children's hospital, but he didn't name which one at that time. It is unclear what the goals of the attackers were.
It was following this and similar incidents that the FBI and other agencies last November issued a public warning that Iranian government-backed hackers were targeting the transportation and healthcare sectors.
Wray emphasized in his address at Boston College that "we cannot let up on China or Iran or criminal syndicates while we're focused on Russia."
Wray spoke of current hacking threats from Moscow, saying that the FBI has been on a "combat tempo," with a 24/7 command post during Russia's war in Ukraine.
He added that "we've seen the Russian government taking specific preparatory steps towards potential destructive attacks, both here and abroad."
Wray stressed that the same network access gained by Russian operatives to collect intelligence could be used for a destructive hack, warning that "we're watching for their cyberactivities to become more destructive as the war keeps going poorly for them."
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