UZ Leuven files complaint against journalists for hacking attempt
Friday, 17 October 2014
VRT journalists working for the “Koppen” show which aired Thursday night attempted to demonstrate the ease of hacking internal data from the university hospital UZ Leuven. This initiative did not sit well with hospital officials, who announced that they intended to file a complaint. In drafting the Flemish public service program, it was indicated that the goal was to raise the issue of cyber security and how private data stored in electronic databases could be obtained with the “undercover approach” used by journalists. The report scheduled for Thursday night was mentioned by various Flemish media, with journalists revealing that the hacking attempt targeted several health institutions, including a large hospital. According to Het Laatste Nieuws and Morgen, the final report demonstrates the ease with which the “Koppen” newspaper journalists able to”hack a teaching hospital,” successfully “in half an hour” to get their hands on “thousands of patient data,” including information about their “diseases, operations, blood type and medication. “
UZ Leuven responded Thursday day via a press release indicating that they found that its own internal computer network had been the target of a hacking attempt. The hospital argues, however, that no patient records were obtained. “The firewall that protects patient records against hackers foiled the attack,” said the hospital.
The hacker was not able to obtain the data stored on the internal circuit and was only able to enter a hospital server group called “Biomedical Sciences”. This server contained only old research data. The hospital finally regrets the “unqualified” media and communication which “created unjustified concern among patients and the general public,” and stated that they want to file a formal complaint.