00:59 GMT21 April 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - French Secretary of State for the Digital Economy Cedric O on Thursday told the France 2 broadcaster that it was mafia-linked groups rather than foreign interference behind recent cyberattacks on French hospitals and related leaks of patient data.

    "Regarding the hospitals, in all likelihood, it is not foreign states, but rather mafia organizations, often based in eastern countries but not just there," Cedric O said.

    He explained that when hacking a system, perpetrators are set to receive ransom money so that the frozen information system could be restored, and that is the reason behind hackers targeting hospitals, which the official said were "entities under pressure" concerning cybersecurity.

    In the meantime, the Paris prosecutor's office on Thursday reportedly launched a probe into the data theft of some nearly 500,000 French patients.

    Earlier this week French media reported that the medical data of around half a million French patients was hacked uploaded on the internet. According to the government official, the leak occurred last November. He noted an increase in ransomware cyberattacks over the past several months, with the latest ones conducted earlier in February, targeting two hospitals. However, according to Cedric O, hackers failed to conduct data theft in these attacks.

    Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to invest 1 billion euros in the national cybersecurity effort amid the steady rise in hacking attacks.

    Tags:
    France, hospital, Cyberattacks
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