The International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) has been hit by an advanced cyber-attack
The International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) was hit by an advanced cyber-attack this week. The attack targeted ICRC servers holding data and confidential information on more than 515,000 highly vulnerable people. These are people who are looking for family members after losing sight of them due to conflict, migration or natural disaster. The data comes from at least 60 Red Cross societies worldwide, including Belgian Red Cross-Flanders. It is still unclear what the exact impact of this attack will be.
The Red Cross is very concerned about the risk the attack poses. Losing contact with your family is already an intense situation and this cyber-attack only adds to their suffering. We are appalled that this humanitarian information has been targeted by a cyber-attack. This cyber-attack puts vulnerable people at risk," said Robert Mardini, head of the International Red Cross.
The ICRC has no immediate indications who is behind this cyber-attack. The attack targeted an external company in Switzerland that stores the ICRC's data. There is currently no indication that the information on the servers has been further leaked or shared.
Restoring Family Links
The data concerns the data of Restoring Family Links. The ICRC runs, together with Red Cross societies worldwide, the service 'Restoring Family Links'. Through this service they try to reconnect family members who have lost sight of each other through conflict, migration or natural disaster. Because of this attack, the ICRC had to close down the system behind this service. This has a direct effect on family members who are looking for each other. The ICRC is trying to find a new way to continue this important service as soon as possible.
"Worldwide, the Red Cross reconnects 12 missing people with their families every day. These are special events that have a great impact on these people's lives. Cyber-attacks like this endanger this vital work. We therefore take this attack extremely seriously. We are working closely with humanitarian partners around the world. We hope to learn more about the scale of this attack soon so that we can take the right measures to protect the data in the future."