US concerned by cyber-attack threat against Czech Republic’s healthcare

File photo. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) speaks as US President Donald Trump (2-R) and US Vice President Mike Pence (R) look on during a news briefing with members of the Coronavirus Task Force at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 8 April 2020. [Pool/EPA/EFE]

The United States is concerned by the threat of a cyber-attack against the Czech Republic’s healthcare sector, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday (17 April), adding that anybody engaged in such activity should “expect consequences.”

Two hospitals in the Czech Republic reported attempted attacks on their computer systems on Friday, a day after the country’s cybersecurity watchdog said it expected a wave of cyberattacks on the country’s critical infrastructure.

“We call upon the actor in question to refrain from carrying out disruptive malicious cyber activity against the Czech Republic’s healthcare system or similar infrastructure elsewhere,” Pompeo said in a statement, without naming anyone.

A Czech official speaking on condition of anonymity said it was not clear who was responsible for the activity the watchdog had identified but it was thought to be the work of a “serious and advanced adversary.”

“The United States has zero tolerance for malicious cyber activity designed to undermine U.S. and international partners’ efforts to protect, assist, and inform the public during this global pandemic,” Pompeo said.

“Such activity against critical civilian infrastructure is deeply irresponsible and dangerous.”

Hackers ranging from cyber criminals to government-backed spies are thought to have been targeting businesses, governments and healthcare organizations with attempts to steal sensitive information related to the new coronavirus outbreak.

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