The First Known Death from a Cyber Attack Was Reported from Germany


A ransomware attack on a hospital in the city of Düsseldorf in Germany delayed treatment for one woman, ultimately leading to her death. 

The woman has been suffering from a life-threatening illness and she was scheduled for life-saving treatment at the Düsseldorf University Clinic on Friday night. The medical doctors had to redirect her to a hospital in Wuppertal roughly 60 km (38 miles) away.

The cyberattack had forced emergency services to redirect nearly ambulances bound for Düsseldorf hospital to other medical facilities. 

The state Justice Ministry suggested the woman died as a result of the delay in treatment. This, in turn, happened because of a ransomware. 

The authorities in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia launched an investigation on Thursday into what was suspected to be “a negligent homicide”. If the investigation leads to a prosecution, the authorities will face a premiere. It would be the first confirmed case when a person dies as the direct consequence of a cyber-attack. 

However, the observers have suggested that her death is the first caused by a ransomware attack. 

As reported on Friday, the hospital’s IT operations remain affected and no new patients can be admitted yet. 

No, Any Concrete Ransom was a demand 

The German state authorities believe that the attackers didn’t target the hospital on purpose. The attack targeted more than 30 servers.

According to the hospital, “They didn’t receive any concrete ransom demand.” The attack targeted more than 30 servers. Whoever planned it used a “widely used commercial add-on software.” 

Ciaran Martin, the head of Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre this month, claimed in an event in Landon:

“If confirmed, this tragedy would be the first case I know of, anywhere in the world, where the death of human life can be linked in any way to a cyber-attack.”

Independent cybersecurity and privacy researcher Lukasz Olejnik described a “very serious indirect link” between the attack and the woman’s death.



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