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Cyberattack on Red Cross compromises data of over 515,000 'highly vulnerable people'

Cyberattack on Red Cross compromises data of over 515,000 highly vulnerable people

New Delhi: The International Committee of the Red Cross on Wednesday announced that hackers broke into servers hosting its data and gained access to confidential personal information on more than a half million vulnerable people.

According to the Red Cross, a sophisticated cyber security attack against computer servers hosting information was detected this week.

According to the Geneva-based agency, the breach by unknown intruders this week affected data of about 515,000 people "including those separated from their families due to conflict, migration and disaster, missing persons and their families, and people in detention".

The data originated from at least 60 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world.

The organisation said that the most pressing concern following this attack is the potential risks that come with this breach -- including confidential information being shared publicly -- for people that the Red Cross and Red Crescent network seeks to protect and assist, as well as their families.

"An attack on the data of people who are missing makes the anguish and suffering for families even more difficult to endure. We are all appalled and perplexed that this humanitarian information would be targeted and compromised," said Robert Mardini, ICRC's director-general.

"This cyber-attack puts vulnerable people, those already in need of humanitarian services, at further risk."

The ICRC had no immediate indications as to who carried out this cyber attack, nor whether the compromised information has been leaked or shared publicly.

While we don't know who is responsible for this attack, or why they carried it out, we do have this appeal to make to them," said Mardini.

"Your actions could potentially cause yet more harm and pain to those who have already endured untold suffering," he added.

Because of the attack, Red Cross has shut down the systems underpinning its Restoring Family Links work, affecting the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's ability to reunite separated family members.

Every day, the Red Cross-Red Crescent Movement helps reunite on average 12 missing people with their families.

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