back to article Bon sang! French hospital contracts 6,000 PC-locking ransomware infection

A French hospital has suffered a ransomware attack that reportedly caused the lockdown of 6,000 computers. Rouen's Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) reverted to pen and paper instead of computerised record-keeping during last week's attack, according to Le Monde. The attack, which took place on Friday November 15 at …

  1. Blockchain commentard

    Zut alors, oh la la and other expressions a la Francais needed here me thinks.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Pfff.. shugs & lights gauloises.

      Put DGSI or E on the case

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Is the E for Explosives?

  2. Sgt_Oddball


    Inspector Jacques Clouseau when you need him?

    Mines the one with the pink panther in the pocket..

    1. JClouseau

      Re: Where's..

      Ha haaaa !!! At last I am recognized and one acknowledges zat my expirriânce and unlimited cleverness are needed.

      Fear not, I'm on it.

      But first tell me somessing : do they at least have a swimming-pühl at the CHU ?

  3. Richard Jones 1

    I Might Be Out Of Step But

    I suggest that the French played it right, meaning that in this case Ransom attempts did not pay. Strengthening defences, finding out how it happened and doing more to stop things spreading internally must be in order. Hell it might even mean training staff and building better infrastructure. That might cost a bit off any efficiency savings in the early years, but then payback rather well.

    1. Imhotep

      Re: I Might Be Out Of Step But

      Presumably they had a DR plan in place in case their systems went down. Good on them.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I Might Be Out Of Step But

        Pen and paper according to the Beeb report.

        1. Imhotep

          Re: I Might Be Out Of Step But

          I like pen and paper as an available option - that should work regardless of the condition causing the outage, including natural disasters where power is lost.

          Some hospitals going through the same thing in the US basically shut down for the duration I believe, transferring patients elsewhere. That won't work if they are all hit by the same hurricane, earthquake, etc.

          1. Tom Chiverton 1

            Re: I Might Be Out Of Step But

            That's because it's illegal to treat someone in the US if you can't get payed for it by their insurer.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: I Might Be Out Of Step But

      The problem is, even if you pay the ransom, you still need to replace all the hardware, or at the very least reformat and re-install all machines and recover data from backups.

      Are you really going to trust a machine that had malware on it and was encrypted? Do you know it isn't still active, that they haven't opened a back door into your system with another tool?

      At best, I'd expect to retrieve the last few hours of data since the last backup. The rest of the work will have to be carried out anyway, whether you pay the ransom or not.

      1. Tom Chiverton 1

        Re: I Might Be Out Of Step But

        None of these are state-actor-level BIOS resident.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: I Might Be Out Of Step But

          As far as we know...

          The problem is, one the machine has been infected, you can never trust it again, until you have reformatted the drive and reinstalled the os and all applications.

          You might as well just rebuild and restore from a backup. It is safer than paying the ransom and hoping the der once is clean afterwards.

      2. EnviableOne

        Re: I Might Be Out Of Step But

        Its very achievable Maersk replased their entire infrastrucure in a week after Nyetia

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    La Guillotine

    Quelle bande des cons...

    This is one of those times when this kind of incident really gets my goat... Hospital staff are not highly paid professionals making a fortune,, they are basically normal people that spend their lives saving other people lifes....

    I seriously hope that the DGSE find some means of catching these wankers and then making them pay a severe penalty...

    If someone dies because of this then the ransomware idiots should be tried for manslaughter.

    1. Dr_N

      Re: La Guillotine

      Time to invoke Opération <<Corned Beef>> ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked this hospital offline are going to hear all of us soon.

    3. Blitheringeejit

      Re: La Guillotine

      It's a fair point that health data is a lucrative target - but surely that would be for theft, not ransomware. IIRC when the UK NHS was hit by ransomware a couple of years ago, the post-mortem concluded that it wasn't a targeted attack - just a scattergun malware mailshot which happened to land in a staff member's mailbox and was activated.

      Unless someone who's better informed knows different..?

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: La Guillotine

        I'm not better informed, but I surmise that if I steal the results of your colonoscopy examination, for instance, the value of that on the open market isn't much. Where I could get money is by denying you and your doctor's access to your own life-and-death data. Maybe your life insurer would also be interested, but moderately well regulated companies won't go around buying illegal access to customers' medical records... well, maybe out of petty cash.

        Another customer for stolen patient data would be people or groups who are morally outraged by some medical procedures, such as abortion, gender reassignment, circumcision reversal, assisted reproduction for racial minorities. Specifically they would like to know where you live so that they can come round and let you and your neighbours know that they're praying for you, or against you, and why. I'm sort of assuming praying, it goes with the subject. And they've got money.

        1. Dr_N

          Re: La Guillotine

          In France you get a copy of all scans and reports handed to you there and then after the exam.

          1. Imhotep

            Re: La Guillotine

            Here in Nashville, and with our provider, we also have electronic access to our records.

            I like the fact that I can walk into one of their satellite clinics out in the sticks, be seen within 15 minutes, have an XRay taken which is reviewed by a Dr in Nashville while I wait.

            That's an example of how useful/efficient electronic records can be. Working in IT in the health care industry, I've also seen how badly things can go wrong too.

            1. Alan Hope

              Re: La Guillotine

              Yet another "scan-negative headache" doctor.

              Yes, it's great.

  5. Mr. Flibble


    Am I the only one that thinks that the phrase "Digital Transformation" is retarded?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge


      Whenever you hear the word "transformation" in any management speak you should expect the worst. It is a by-word for pain and often for little on no gain.

      Almost certainly the issue for our French cousins is much like the NHS and others: where critical systems are not well (if at all) segregated from those with email/web/USB access for various reasons. Not sending on proper network planning, firewall settings and disaster containment/recovery are likely to be the big factors. Yes, it is also often a Windows-only issue, but a lot of essential software or very high value hardware (MRI scanners, etc) needs that and so you have to deal with it but limiting what happens when either a zero-day exploit is used or (more likely) someone makes a dumb mistake.

    2. JClouseau


      Definitely not, and be happy you're not French.

      Here, whether you work in IT for a French or foreign company, you get bombed with corporate BS in frenglish (sure enough "tchallêndge" is much easier to say than "défi")

      My pet peeve is precisely "Digital Transformation", and people here managed to make it more ridiculous, with the ominous "Transformation Digitale". French being a latin language, "digital" is more related to fingers rather than numbers, binary or computers.

      But no, it's fancy and sooo much cooler than "Transformation Numérique". Which is ugly as well. We're doomed.

      The funny thing is that I believe the usage of "digital" instead of "numerical" in English is wrong as well. So what am I doing here, exactly ??

      1. Imhotep


        For those of us counting on our fingers, "digital" is acceptable use. Not to boast, but we're the ones that got everyone to settle on Base 10 and decimals.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge


        The funny thing is that I believe the usage of "digital" instead of "numerical" in English is wrong as well.

        People believe all sorts of things with no justification. I suppose that might be funny to some.

        Regarding "digital" in English: The use of "digital" to mean information technology that primarily represents data using discrete rather than continuous encodings was apparently introduced around 1940, but is based on usage - in the sense of a digital representation of a number - that goes back to the fifteenth century. "Digital" in general was not commonly used before its adoption as a term of art in ICT to distinguish from analogue methods. Since this new usage was both justified etymologically and not in conflict with any existing popular usage, it's difficult to see how anyone could argue that it is somehow unjustified.

        Certainly, in English, there's very little ground to argue that "numerical" would be better in this context. Analogue computers are also numerical; and there is nothing about, say, discrete signaling systems which makes them "numerical".

        1. JClouseau


          People believe all sorts of things ...

          For tel est mon bon plaisir, my lord. No need to be patronizing, but to each his own.

          Digitus in latin means finger, I think we agree at least on that.

          The fact that you guys started using "digit" to designate a single numerical entity (sorry, couldn't find a satisfactory synonym other than... "digit") at some point for some obscure reason, apparently related to the fact one naturally counts on their fingers, doesn't make it more right in the Big Scheme of Etymology. To me.

          I know I'm right. It's the rest of the humanity that's wrong. Self-confidence is everything. I'm sure you agree.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge


      Am I the only one that thinks that

      If the Internet has taught us anything, it's taught us that there's an excellent chance any opinion, no matter how idiotic, is shared by at least a few. So, no, probably not.

      ... the phrase "Digital Transformation" is retarded?

      I suspect the phrase was coined by someone who was developmentally typical.

      I don't see anything wrong with it myself. My digits go through transformations all the time - typically affine translations, modified catenaries, that sort of thing.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart move the French Police did moving to GentBuntu.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      It's just as well they're not doing that in an Anglophone country.

  7. Gadbous

    Hackers of this variety should be summarily executed when caught.

    1. storner
      Thumb Up

      Have an up-vote on me.

      Even to extortionists, some targets should be definitely off-limits: Hospitals, emergency services, Red Cross and others who are working hard to make sure the rest of humanity stays alive.

      What happened to morals and the honest thiefs ...

      1. stiine Silver badge

        They can't make a killing in the business.

        I think that's my coat.....

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      No, tried first, executed later if found guilty. Yours is the logic of the lynch mob. You might execute a few innocent people before you get to the guilty ones, always assuming you don't stop looking after the first victim.

  8. Steven Guenther


    If someone dies because of this, that ups the charges from blackmail to MURDER. I am sure they thought about this, so it is PREMEDITATED MURDER.

    Here in sunny Florida we have tool for dealing with people like that, we call it "Old Sparky".

    Run some wattage through these a-holes and the world will be a better place.

    1. baud

      Re: murder

      I think being locked in a French prison for any length of time can be a good enough punition.

      1. Col_Panek

        Re: murder

        Better: extradite them to a former French colony, like Madagascar.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC-locking ransomware infection

    As I believe the NHS is doing, have they tried running their windows apps under a linux wrapper?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mebbe they should be MADE to repay when caught.

    I'm sure there is a shortage of organs for transplant.

    And if one of the perps happens to have a vital one that's needed then .... tuff.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      No shortage of would-be thugs coming out to play today, I see.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leading the world

    This should dispel any suggestion the NHS aren't world leaders. They were doing this back in 2016...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Listen carefully, I shall say this only once...




  13. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    May those ransomware scum land up in a hospital with ransomwared PC's.

    Bonus points if the ransomware is their own, and they terminated their own lives because of that.

  14. KegRaider

    Pity the Ransomware writers weren't critically injured

    ... and needed urgent attention at a hospital that was crippled by their shiteware. It would be an absolute shame if they had to suffer while waiting for hospital systems to dispense their pain relief drugs! Greed is a nasty trait.

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