Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray revealed that Iranian hackers were behind a thwarted 2021 cyberattack on Boston Children’s Hospital that threatened to disrupt medical services.
Wray shared the remarks on Wednesday during a cybersecurity conference at Boston College.
The FBI director told the audience the hacking incident was “one of the most despicable cyberattacks I’ve seen.”
He applauded the prompt responses by those involved in protecting the hospital’s patients.
“And quick actions by everyone involved, especially at the hospital, protected both the network and the sick kids who depended on it,” Wray added.
Wray also noted that the response was enhanced due to working with the children’s hospital following a previous cyberattack the facility’s network experienced in 2014.
“Children’s and our Boston office already knew each other well — before the attack from Iran — and that made a difference,” Wray added.
No motive was mentioned regarding the incident. The method involved an exploit of Fortinet software used to control the hospital’s computer network, according to a CNN report.
The report also pointed out that Wray had accused Iranian hackers of being behind a cyberattack on a children’s hospital in March, though the specific location had not been revealed.
The acknowledgment of the Iranian cyberattack adds to a growing list of threats from Iran’s government on Americans at home and internationally.
In March, the State Department revealed it is paying millions of dollars every month to protect former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a former top aide after uncovering “serious and credible” threats from Iran.
In a report to Congress dated February 14, the State Department shared that the U.S. government is paying more than $2 million a month to provide security to Pompeo and former Iran envoy Brian Hook, according to the Associated Press. Both men were heavily involved in former President Donald Trump’s hardline pressure campaign against the Iranian regime.
Also in March, Iran fired multiple rockets toward the U.S. consulate located in Erbil, a city in northwestern Iraq. Several missiles hit the consulate building, a source close to the matter told the Associated Press.
“One of the officials said the ballistic missiles were fired from Iran,” the AP reported. “The attack comes several days after an Israeli strike near Damascus, Syria killed two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.”
The AP added that “Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted Iraqi media acknowledging the attacks, without saying where they originated.”
Despite the repeated attacks, President Joe Biden recently considered lifting the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The option was considered as Biden sought to get Iran to reenter a nuclear deal. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ended after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement in 2018. The decision was later made not to move forward on the proposed change, with the negotiations regarding the renewed Iranian nuclear deal failing to materialize.