Thursday, October 6

A hack to the International Red Cross compromises the data of more than half a million vulnerable people


Correspondent in Berlin

Updated:

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been the victim of a serious cyber attack. Hackers on Wednesday captured the data of more than 515,000 people held by this organization, corresponding to individuals separated from their families due to armed conflicts, migration or natural disasters, missing persons and their relatives, as well as the data of many detained in different countries, according to the ICRC.

Sourced from around 60 Red Cross Red Crescent national agencies around the world, this data includes details of highly vulnerable people. “We are shocked and lost,” admit management sources, aware of the threat situation in which many of the affected people remain.

One of the hacked data blocks has to do with a project called ‘Restoring family ties’, which seeks to reunite members of the same family who have been separated by wars, migration or disasters and manages to return an average of 12 people with your closest family circle. Due to the cyberattack, the board has been forced to turn off the computer systems with which it is operated, waiting for computer security to be restored.

The ICRC is concerned that the stolen data may be made public or misused. This open possibility makes the anguish and suffering of families even more unbearable and poses an even greater risk to their lives, has admitted the director general of the ICRC, Robert Mardini, who has declared that “we are dismayed and perplexed by the fact that this humanitarian information has been attacked and compromised. The organization specifies that the information was sourced from an external company based in Switzerland, where the ICRC stored the data. So far, there has been no indication of the origin or intentions of the hackers.

Mardini has appealed to the perpetrators not to pass on the data to third parties in the future. “Please do the right thing. Do not share, sell, circulate or use this data,” he implores those in their possession, “your actions could cause further harm and pain to those who have already endured untold suffering.”

Mardini recalls that the International Committee of the Red Cross protects and assists people affected by armed conflicts; also works to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law. “The people behind this information are the most disadvantaged and dispossessed,” insists the director of an organization founded in 1863 and which, according to his own statements, now employs some 20,000 people in more than a hundred countries and operates throughout the world. world, although its headquarters remain in Geneva.

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