Hackers have threatened to release personal medical information, including X-rays, consultants’ letters, clinical notes, and pathology information, belonging to members of the British Royal Family unless they’re paid a £300,000 ($380,000) bitcoin ransom.
As reported by the Daily Mail, the ‘Rhysida’ gang – named after a species of venomous centipede – has threatened to release the information stolen from London’s King Edward VII’s Hospital unless it receives 10 bitcoins by Tuesday.
“Unique files are presented to your attention! Data from the Royal Family! A large amount of patient and employee data. Sale in one lot!!,” the gang wrote on the dark web. It also posted images of the documents for sale.
The hospital has been used by the Royal Family for more than 100 years with its list of famous patients including Prince Philip in 2021, Kate, the Princess of Wales in 2012, and Queen Elizabeth II.
GCHQ, the UK’s intelligence, security, and cyber agency, says it is investigating the attack and is “engaging with King Edward VII’s Hospital to understand the impact.” However, some believe that it’s highly possible that the ransom will be paid.
Former British colonel Philip Ingram told the Daily Mail, “Given the highly sensitive nature of the patients, there will be a degree of pressure on the hospital to try to stop any of this data being released.
“And therefore I would expect them to explore the possibility of paying the ransom.”
But, he adds, there is no guarantee that the data will be returned and could even be sold on to other criminal gangs.
The hospital was previously involved in a controversial security breach in 2012 when the Princess of Wales was being treated for morning sickness.
Two Australian radio DJs contacted the hospital and managed to procure private medical information that they subsequently broadcast. The hospital was forced to apologise and the nurse who was tricked by the pair later took her own life.