Worldwide ransomware attack affects NHS hospitals

Security experts have revealed that numerous NHS hospitals across the UK were the victims of a severe ransomware attack. However, this attack may not have been aimed primarily at the NHS and may be global in nature.

NHS England acknowledged the ransomware attack and said that some of the affected hospitals had to send emergency patients to other facilities. Hospitals experienced issues with their email systems and patient and clinical IT systems.

In January 2017, Barts NHS Trust experienced a cyberattack, which brought to the forefront the need for a robust IT security solution for the NHS and other Government organisations. However, once again, this trust and many others are facing a major disruption in their services due to the widespread ransomware attack.

The January attack was initially believed to be caused by ransomware, but Barts NHS Trust revealed in March that it had actually exploited a zero-day vulnerability, which was later fixed by the IT support vendor who supplied the software.

The latest cyberattack has caused delays at the hospitals that have been affected. A spokesperson for the Barts NHS Trust said that a major incident plan has been initiated, but hospitals are cancelling routine appointments. The spokesperson requested the public to use other services provided by the NHS.

NHS Digital, which is responsible for delivering technology to the NHS hospitals, revealed that 16 trusts have been affected by this latest cyberattack. At the moment, it appears that patient data has not been accessed, and NHS Digital is working with the trusts to ensure that this is indeed a fact.

The technology provider is also collaborating with the Department of Health, NHS England and the National Cyber Security Centre to lend support to the affected NHS trusts, ascertain that patient data and safety have not been compromised and make suggestions for alleviating the problems caused by the cyberattack.

 

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