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Coronavirus hospital hit with cyberattack

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/alexskopje)

A hospital treating coronavirus patients has fallen prey to a cyberattack that forced the institution to send patients to an alternative facility.

According to the National Office for Cyber and Information Security (NÚKIB) in the Czech Republic, the attack forced the University Hospital in Brno to take its IT infrastructure offline.

According to Computer Weekly, hospital Director Jaroslav Štěrba told Czech media some key clinical systems were operational, but the hospital had lost the ability to transfer information from these systems to its database.

While details are still relatively scarce, it's suspected a ransomware attack encrypted the hospital's systems.

A translation of the NÚKIB announcement suggests its specialists, the Government's CERT office (Incident Response and Security) and the country’s law enforcement are working with hospital staff to resolve the incident.

This is not the first time hackers have taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic. Recent weeks have also seen phishing and fraud attempts, in which hackers pretended to be the World Health Organisation (WHO) and shared false information about the disease.

COVID-19 is believed to have originated in the Chinese province of Wuhan. To date, more than 171,000 cases have been confirmed and roughly 6,500 have died worldwide.