Thursday, 21 June, 2018

UK health minister: No second spike in cyber attacks is 'encouraging'

Frank Williams | 16 May, 2017, 07:25

The George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton said patients attending routine appointments may experience delays due to issues with the IT system. The British Home Secretary said most of the NHS systems were back to normal by midday Saturday.

"Staff have been exceptional, and the public have been very understanding".

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust, which runs the social care services and the Haywood Hospital in Stoke, said it had cancelled all outpatient and day cases at its site.

At Broomfield Hospital, part of Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust (Midlands & East), trauma patients were being diverted to Southend University Hospital.

Hackers are demanding anywhere between $300 and $600 to release the encrypted data.

For a health service, such considerations are critical.

Besides NHS Borders, he health boards issued with ransomware demands are those serving Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Forth Valley, Lanarkshire, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Tayside, the Western Isles, the Highlands, Grampian, and Ayrshire and Arran.

Michael Gazeley, managing director of Network Box, a Hong Kong-based cybersecurity firm, said there were still "many "landmines" waiting in people's in-boxes" in the region, with most of the attacks having arrived via e-mail.

How the infection made its way onto NHS systems is still unknown.However, Talal Rajab, head of the cyber and national security programme at industry body TechUK, said: "The way these attacks work means that, although there has been no indication of a new wave of the ransomware spreading, there remains the possibility of existing infections from the malware spreading within networks".

NHS Digital says engineers are working around the clock to fix the problem and that "the situation is changing and impacting on organisations in a range of different ways".

"As a precautionary measure IT systems were shut-down at all GP practices across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough on Friday but are expected to be reconnected this morning".

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"We are spending around £50mil on the NHS cyber systems to improve their security, we've encouraged the NHS trusts to reduce their exposure to the weakest system, the Windows XP. and there is money available to strengthen these systems", he said.

"At the moment, we are in the face of an escalating threat".

"This may be because some expensive hardware, such as magnetic resonance imaging scanners, can not be updated immediately, and in such instances, organisations will take steps to mitigate any risk, such as by isolating the device from the main network". This prevented access to records and caused chaos throughout the NHS.

Authorities are also asking anyone affected by the virus to go to nomoreransom.org for more information about how to unlock your computer without paying the attackers.

Avast, an global security-software firm that claims it has 400 million users worldwide, said the ransomware attacks rose rapidly Saturday to a peak of 57,000 detected intrusions.

National Health Service: At least sixteen NHS organizations have been hit, according to NHS Digital.

"NHS Scotland systems are being recovered".

The commission had been tasked by Hunt with identifying threats to patient data.

Dozens of hospitals in Britain's National Health Service were affected and several still had to cancel appointments on Monday, as doctors warned of delays as they can not access medical records. "Responsible disclosure" - the practice of warning companies before revealing security flaws - is not something the group partakes in, and its data dumps appear to be timed to embarrass the NSA and U.S. government with little care for the collateral damage.

The message from the UK's National Crime Agency was "do not pay!" - there is no guarantee that systems will be restored.

In total 47 NHS organisations reported being affected - and the disruption is continuing into the new working week.

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