Fallout of Cyberattack on NHS Underlines the Importance of Cybersecurity

Images of boxes of paper records showed the stark fallout of a recent NHS ransomware cyberattack. Clinicians were forced to take notes on paper after hackers took seven of Advanced’s healthcare systems offline. The attack left software used for the NHS 111 app, medical notes and patient check-in unusable, forcing staff to manually take action using pen and paper.

Healthcare leaders warned that the backlog would likely take six months to process, with “probably a few hundred thousand” patient records awaiting input once systems are running again. This is despite initial NHS analysis of the disruption from the attack in August being thought to be “minimal”. Staff have volunteered to work longer hours to clear the backlog, but testimonials in the BBC and other news outlets have shown the ongoing impact on patients. With doctors forced to take appointments without access to medical information or notes.

This is not the first time the NHS has been hit by such an impactful ransomware attack, most infamously in 2017 a WannaCry ransomware attack cost the organization £92 Million and led to 19,000 appointments being cancelled.

Large organizations such as healthcare providers, banks, governmental departments and insurers are always at risk from cyberattack. In this climate securing your organization from attack from all angles, internal and external is of prime importance: ransomware attacks which target employees, supply-chain attacks which target third-party software and internal system breaches, where agents compromise systems from inside the organization itself. The threats may be digital but the consequences are real

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