Hackers threaten to send SWAT teams to Fred Hutch patients' homes

Hackers threatened to "swat" patients of Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center if the organization didn't meet its ransom demands, databreaches.net reported.

Swatting is the act of making a bogus claim to law enforcement so that officers, such as SWAT teams, show up at the person's home. The threat actors reportedly made the demand of Fred Hutch after a November ransomware attack on the organization. Fred Hutch got "upset when we threat to swat patients," the hackers told the website for the Dec. 29 story.

Databreaches.net reported that it was not aware of any such threat ever being made to a healthcare institution before, calling swatting cancer patients a "next level of evil." The hackers said they did not follow through with the warning, though they did email patients demanding $50 in exchange for removing their personal data from the dark web.

"Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center was aware of cybercriminals issuing swatting threats and immediately notified the FBI and Seattle police, who notified the local police," a Fred Hutch spokesperson emailed Becker's. "The FBI, as part of its investigation into the cybersecurity incident, also investigated these threats."

A spokesperson for the FBI in Seattle told Becker's it is aware of the threats but that it has no information that a swatting event took place. "The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it can place innocent people at risk and takes responders away from real emergencies," the spokesperson said.

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