THE CYBERCRIMINALS behind a so-called ‘ransomware’ attack on the Clinic Hospital in Barcelona are demanding a payment of €4.2 million before they will release the data that they have hijacked and encrypted. 

The Catalan authorities, meanwhile, say that they will do no such deal with the hackers. 

‘We are not negotiating, we haven’t negotiated and we will not negotiate any kind of payment with these criminals,’ said the region’s telecoms secretary, Sergi Marcen, in comments reported by Spanish daily El Pais

The criminals are alleged to have taken control of four terabytes of data, but investigators are still unsure exactly what has been lost. 

The gang, known as RansomHouse, has reportedly got in touch with the hospital to demand the payment and offered an image of the main server tree as evidence of the information in their control. 

What is known, however, is that the data could contain personal information of patients. As a result, the authorities have called on citizens in the area to be particularly vigilant should they receive an SMS claiming to be from a friend or relative asking for money. 

‘We need to mistrust these messages that ask for money or personal information,’ said Tomas Roy, the general director of the region’s cybersecurity agency. ‘You also must avoid clicking on links when you do not know their origin.’

Since the attack was first suffered on Sunday, it has impeded the hospital from carrying out more than 4,000 tests on patients, more than 300 surgeries and 11,000 external appointments. 

The hospital is expected to be operating at full capacity by next Tuesday.

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