French visa applicants warned of cyberattack on web portal

People who have recently used the French online visa platform have been warned that their data could have been stolen after the site was the subject of a cyberattack.

French visa applicants warned of cyberattack on web portal
Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP

The French Interior Ministry reported that the France-visas platform was targeted by hackers on August 10th.

They said that the attack was “quickly neutralised” but added that some data could have been stolen from people who had made an application for a visa on the site before this date.

A spokesman for the Ministry said: “This data could be misused, but its effect is limited, in particular because the information does not include financial or sensitive data within the meaning of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

“Nor does it allow administrative procedures to be initiated on behalf of the person whose data has been disclosed, whether on the France-visas portal or on any other French institutional site.”

Anyone affected should have received a message from the site informing them of the problem and advising them on security measures to take, however questions can also be addressed to: [email protected]

A criminal investigation into the attacks has begun.

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Hackers post French hospital patient data online

Hackers who crippled a French hospital and stole a trove of data last month have released personal records of patients online, officials have confirmed.

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

The cyberattackers demanded a multimillion dollar ransom from the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital near Paris a month ago, but the institution refused to pay.

The hospital said the hackers had now dumped medical scans and lab analyses along with the social security numbers of patients.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the unspeakable disclosure of hacked data,” health minister Fran├žois Braun tweeted on Sunday.

Hospitals around the world have been facing increasing attacks from ransomware groups, particularly since the pandemic stretched resources to breaking point.

The problem has been acute in France, where officials estimated early last year that healthcare institutions were facing on average an attack every week.

President Emmanuel Macron last year called the attacks during the pandemic a “crisis within a crisis” and announced an extra one billion euros for cybersecurity.

During last month’s attack, the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital shut down its emergency services and sent many patients to other institutions.

At one point, officials said the only technology still working was the telephone.

Rather than selling the trove of data, the hacker has dumped at least some of it for download on the “dark web” — a hidden part of the internet that requires special software to access.

Analysts said it seemed to be a tactic to put pressure on the hospital, even though public institutions are banned by French law from paying ransoms.

Cybersecurity researcher Damien Bancal, who revealed the leak and has seen the files, told AFP the worry is that other criminals will now launch scams with the data that has already been divulged.

In response to the leak on the weekend, the hospital severely restricted access to its systems and told patients to be extremely vigilant when receiving emails, text messages or phone calls.