A cyber attack on England’s largest NHS trust has underlined the importance of cyber security at healthcare organisations and has raised renewed fears about NHS legacy IT systems England’s largest NHS trust has launched an investigation into a cyber attack that forced systems to be taken offline briefly as a precautionary measure.
Initial reports on 13 January said Barts Health Trust, which runs five hospitals in east London,With a turnover of £1.25 billion and a workforce of 15,000, Barts Health is the largest NHS trust in the country, and one of Britain’s leading healthcare providers.
We have five hospitals which deliver high quality compassionate care to the 2.5 million people of east London and beyond., had been hit by a ransomware attack.
One may ask, What is Ransomware Attack ?
Ransomware is computer malware that installs covertly on a victim’s computer, executes a cryptovirology attack that adversely affects it, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt it or not publish it. Simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, and display a message requesting payment to unlock it. More advanced malware encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them
But the trust subsequently told the BBC that it had not been hit by malware that encrypts files and demands ransom to decrypt them, and that patient data was not accessed by the attackers.Investigators are working to determine the nature of the attack and what systems were affected at the trust, which runs the Royal London, St Bartholomew’s, Whipps Cross, Mile End and Newham hospitals.
“We have tried and tested contingency plans in place and are making every effort to ensure patient care will not be affected,” it said in a statement at the weekend.The affected systems were reportedly restored without paying any ransom to cyber attackers.
The latest cyber attack on an NHS trust underlines the threat to healthcare organisations and has raised concerns that many NHS trusts still rely on legacy IT systems that are vulnerable to attack.The number of ransomware attacks around the world increased rapidly in 2016, affecting a wide range of organisations, including several hospitals.
The trend is expected to continue this year, but security experts say ransomware attacks are likely to become more sophisticated and more targeted.Freedom of Information requests from 97 NHS trusts revealed that the annual spend for a single trust was just over £23,000 and that 45 trusts were “unable to specify” their cyber security budgets. Seven said they had spent nothing.
Cyber attacks of this sort really poses a threat to the healthcare industry.