Cyber security attack against the ICRC database makes restoring family links difficult

Every day, the Red Cross helps reunite twelve people with their families after being separated by war or disaster.

A cyber security attack was launched against the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) database, affecting the data of approximately 515,000 people worldwide. This data concerns people in a vulnerable position, such as people gone missing or detained during conflicts or disasters and their loved ones. 

The Red Cross uses the database to help reunite family members disconnected from each other when a child or young person fleeing from war has been separated from their parents. 

The breach affects the data related to restoring family links in Red Cross or Red Crescent societies in a total of more than 50 countries. The Finnish Red Cross also uses the database to restore family connections, and the database contains the data of approximately 3,000 people looking for their loved ones and their families in Finland. The breach does not affect other aid activities of the Finnish Red Cross. 

There is not yet any indication that the compromised information has been leaked or shared publicly.  

Security breach to cause significant delays in help to most vulnerable

On average, the Red Cross helps reunite twelve people with their families after being separated by war, natural disasters or migration. The security breach makes this work much more challenging all over the world, as to prevent additional damage, the International Committee of the Red Cross has had to cut all connections to the database used for restoring family links.

The Committee is working intensively to resolve the issue and strives to ensure that the work to help families can resume as soon as possible. 

In Finland, the Finnish Red Cross has reported the issue to the National Cyber Security Centre Finland and submitted a data breach notification to the Data Protection Ombudsman.

The International Committee of the Red Cross works to help people suffering in conflict areas all over the world. The Committee is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The Red Cross – Help finding missing family members
Help finding missing family members
Humanitarian aid
Humanitarian aid