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CRIME

French hospital cancels operations after cyberattack

A hospital complex in Versailles, near Paris, had to cancel operations and transfer some patients after being hit by a cyberattack over the weekend, France's health ministry said.

French hospital cancels operations after cyberattack
Illustration photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP

The Hospital Centre of Versailles – which consists of Andre-Mignot Hospital, Richaud Hospital and the Despagne Retirement Home – was affected by the hacking attempt, said the complex’s management.

The regional health agency (ARS) said the Andre-Mignot Hospital had cancelled operations, but was doing everything possible to keep walk-in services and consultations running.

Six patients had been transferred since Saturday evening – three from intensive care and three from the neonatal unit – said Health Minister Francois Braun, as he visited the hospital on Sunday evening. Others might follow, he added.

The cyberattack had led to a “total reorganisation of the hospital”, the minister added.

While the machines were still functioning in the intensive care unit, more people were needed to watch the screens as they were no longer working as part of a network, Braun said.

The Paris prosecutors’ office has opened a preliminary investigation into attempted extortion, as well as the access and maintenance of the state’s digital system. The hospital had also filed a formal complaint on Sunday.

For several months now, hospitals and health systems in France have been targeted with such cyberattacks.

According to Braun, “the health system suffers daily attacks” in France, but the “vast majority of these attempts are prevented”.

In August, the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital on the outskirts of Paris – which provides healthcare for nearly 700,000 residents – was targeted.

Its operations were severely disrupted for several weeks before returning to normal in mid-October.

On that occasion, the attack was followed by a demand for $10 million, subsequently lowered to one or two million.

The hackers had set a September 23rd deadline for the hospital to pay the ransom, after which they posted confidential data on patients and staff to the “dark web”.

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CRIME

French tycoon fined €150k for harming tortoises

Corsican construction tycoon Patrick Rocca was fined €150,000 on Tuesday for harming protected tortoises on a building site even after officials told him to stop.

French tycoon fined €150k for harming tortoises

Six dead specimens of a species known as Hermann’s tortoise and another “fatally wounded” animal were found when officers from France’s biodiversity agency inspected the worksite in December 2019.

Around 3.5 hectares of the habitat just outside the Mediterranean island’s capital Ajaccio were disturbed and 2.8 hectares destroyed, the inspectors found, calling for the work to be halted.

But Rocca’s Fortimmo company – one of the largest employers on the French Mediterranean island, with around 1,000 local workers – continued construction, with more dead tortoises found a few days later.

His conviction for mutilation and unauthorised destruction of a protected animal species and their habitat follows a court ruling against Fortimmo, which had to pay a €500,000 fine, and a total of €530,000 in damages.

Rocca’s lawyer Philippe Gatti called the punishments “excessive”.

Corsica is one of the last places where Hermann’s tortoises – the only species native to France – still live in the wild.

They are protected by France and the European Union as well as internationally.

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