British NHS Hospital Trust Under Cyber Attack

The largest NHS hospital trust in England has been infected with a virus affecting thousands of sensitive files.

A message sent to staff at Barts Health Trust recently warns that the Trust’s four hospitals are experiencing a “ransomware virus attack.” The victims of blackmail ransomware usually receive phishing messages in an attempt to elicit money in order to restore access to the computer system.

The Trust said it was making “every effort” to avoid disruption to patients treated at its four hospitals in east London: The Royal London, St Bartholomew’s, Whipps Cross and Newham.

A source at the trust told Health Service Journal that the attack had affected thousands of files on the trust’s Windows XP operating system, and the trust’s file sharing system between departments has been turned off while an investigation takes place.

A Trust spokesman said: “We are urgently investigating this matter and have taken a number of drives offline as a precautionary measure. We have tried and tested contingency plans in place and are making every effort to ensure that patient care will not be affected.”

The incident follows Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation trust being hit by a ransomware attack in October, from a virus which made files inaccessible.

At the Lincolnshire trust the attack began as a result of phishing emails, which contain malicious website links or attachments that release a virus once activated.

The trust did not pay any ransom as a result of the attack but it did have to cancel 2,800 patient appointments during 48 hours when it shut down systems.

In October,  the Government warned that the NHS was at risk of cyber-attacks,  saying that hacking is "no longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies" but a clear and present threat.

Ben Gummer, a Health minister, said "large quantities of sensitive data" held by the NHS and the Government is being targeted by hackers. He warned that cyber attackers, including those working for foreign states, could try to "disrupt" Britain's energy, water and transport networks.

Telegraph:              Healthcare Data Breaches In 2017 Will Get Worse:

 

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