Jan 20, 2022 - Technology

Cyberattack on Red Cross compromises data of more than 515,000 people

Headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, with the Red Cross flag, Geneva, Switzerland.
Headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. Photo: MyLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The personal data of more than 515,000 "highly vulnerable people" were compromised in a cyberattack on a contractor used by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the organization said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The attack compromised data from at least 60 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies worldwide. As of yet, there is no indication that the information has been leaked, according to the ICRC.

  • The vulnerable individuals whose information was compromised in the attack include people separated from their families due to conflict or disaster, missing persons and people in detention, per the organization.
  • ICRC director-general Robert Mardini appealed to the unknown perpetrators of the attack, asking them not to "share, sell, leak or otherwise use this data."

What they're saying: "An attack on the data of people who are missing makes the anguish and suffering for families even more difficult to endure," Mardini said in a statement.

  • "We are all appalled and perplexed that this humanitarian information would be targeted and compromised," he added. "This cyber-attack puts vulnerable people, those already in need of humanitarian services, at further risk."
  • "We are working closely with our humanitarian partners worldwide to understand the scope of the attack and take the appropriate measures to safeguard our data in the future."

Go deeper: 2021 was the year cybersecurity became everyone's problem

Go deeper