BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that the agency thwarted a planned cyber attack on Boston's Children Hospital last year that was to have been carried out by hackers sponsored by the Iranian government.
Wray, delivering the keynote address at the sixth annual Boston Conference on Cyber Security, said the FBI acted on a tip from another intelligence agency in August 2021 and was able to warn the hospital that the attack was coming. There was no disruption to the hospital's services.
"Our folks got the hospital's team the information they needed to stop the danger right away," Wray said. "And we were able to help them ID and then mitigate the threat. And quick actions by everyone involved, especially at the hospital, protected both the network and the sick kids who depended on it."
Wray said this was not the first time that Boston Children's Hospital has been targeted by a cyber attack. In 2014, hacktivist Martin Gottesfeld launched a cyber attack on the hospital and a treatment home to protest the care of a teenager at the center of a high-profile custody dispute. The attack on the facilities disrupted operations for days and cost them tens of thousands of dollars. Gottesfeld was later sentenced to 10 years in prison.
"Children’s and our Boston office already knew each other well, before the attack from Iran, and that made a difference," said Wray.
Wray did not reveal a particular motive behind the planned 2021 attack, but said that Iran and other countries have been hiring cyber mercenaries to carry out attacks on their behalf.