Iranian government hackers last year attempted a "despicable" cyber-attack against Boston Children's Hospital, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Wednesday.

Wray, in a speech delivered at a conference hosted by Boston College, detailed the incident as he warned about the rising threat cyber-attacks sponsored by nation states like Iran, Russia and China pose to companies and US infrastructure.

“We got a report from one of our intelligence partners indicating Boston Children's was about to be targeted, and understanding the urgency of the situation, the cyber squad in our Boston field office raced out to notify the hospital," Wray said.

Wray said officials with the FBI were able to quickly get the nationally renowned children's hospital the information needed to "stop the danger right away" and mitigate the threat.

"Quick actions by everyone involved, especially at the hospital, protected both the network and the sick kids that depended on it," Wray said.

Wray called the incident "one of the most despicable cyberattacks I have ever seen" and was an example of the increasing risks hospitals and other providers of critical infrastructure face from hackers, including state-sponsored ones. The attack put the lives of patients at risk.

"If malicious cyber actors are going to purposefully cause destruction, or hold data and systems for ransom, they tend to hit us somewhere that's really going to hurt," Wray said.

Iran has been repeatedly accused of cyber-attacks against the West, Israel and rival Arab countries in the Middle East.

Reporting by Reuters

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