Cyberattack on the most vulnerable

News • 25.01.2022

On 18 January 2022, the ICRC detected a cyberattack on the system of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It affected the Restoring Family Links network, which forms the basis for international cooperation to reunite people who are separated due to war, violence, migration and other causes. The SRC strongly condemns the cyberattack and is extremely concerned for the safety of those affected.

SRC data are also affected

The Swiss Red Cross is one of around 60 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies that have entered data in the ICRC's Restoring Family Links network. The SRC data concerned are private information from around 18,000 vulnerable people who have asked the SRC Tracing Service for help in recent years or who have been sought via the Tracing Service.

The database also contains largely publicly available information from around 1,200 Swiss partner organizations who have supported our searches in the past. The Swiss Red Cross has thus started to inform affected individuals and organizations quickly, directly and transparently about the theft of its data.

If you fear you may have been affected by the cyber attack and would like further information, you can find the latest updates here.

You can also contact our Tracing Service directly:, 058 400 43 80.

What are the consequences of the data theft?

The authors of the attack are unknown. To prevent further damage, the ICRC suspended access to the databases affected immediately. Furthermore, the ICRC has so far not identified any misuse or public use of these data.

The cyberattack also severely affects the work of our Tracing Service with those affected. In addition, collaboration within our network is scarcely possible. No data were deleted in the data breach, and our teams are working on setting up a temporary system to enable us to continue with our important work.

SRC systems not affected

The cyberattack is limited to the ICRC's Restoring Family Links network; the SRC's systems are not affected. Data from donors and other sensitive data such as living wills or data from the National Register of Healthcare Professionals are stored on SRC systems and are therefore not affected.

Digital space for humanitarian work must be protected

Various countries (including Switzerland) have entrusted the ICRC as an impartial humanitarian organization with certain tasks. These include gathering information on people reported missing to reunite separated family members. The Red Cross needs a safe, reliable digital humanitarian space. This attack has violated this space in every respect.

For further information

Media enquiries

Raymond Ruch, head of communication
058 400 41 32


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