NHS trusts targeted in ransomware strikes

One in seven trusts in England hit by extortion attempts

Cyber criminals have targeted at least 28 NHS England trusts with ransomware in the last 12 months, according to newly released figures.

The rate of attacks was revealed to the i newspaper following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by cybersecurity firm NCC Group, with up to four being considered serious enough "they had to be reported as a potential breach of data protection or confidentiality laws".

While only around 14% of the total number of NHS trusts in England were affected, millions of patients' data were potentially at risk. However, no ransom was ever paid and no data ever lost, according to NHS Digital, the body which oversees cybersecurity for the health service.

Ollie Whitehouse, technical director of NCC Group, told i: "Ransomware has become the bottom line of cybercrime if hackers break into a system and can't find any other way to monetise what they find, they encrypt the data and demand a ransom. We have seen a 400% increase in these attacks.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"The health service is by no means alone in facing this kind of attack. But NHS trusts are being increasingly targeted and any loss of patient data would be a nightmare scenario. Like everyone else, they need to be applying robust controls."

In a statement to i, NHS Digital said: "Incidents are rare and in the last year there have been fewer than five reports of ransomware attacks on individual machines on a network used by around two million people. In all reported cases, effective and swift action was taken and no ransoms have been paid.

"Like all organisations the NHS is subject to malicious attacks on its systems and, like all organisations, these attempted attacks are rising. But we are taking action to ensure information is as safe as possible."

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/29204/how-can-you-protect-your-business-from-crypto-ransomware
Security

How can you protect your business from crypto-ransomware?

4 Nov 2019
Visit/technology/33077/health-secretary-bans-pagers-from-nhs-hospitals
Technology

Health Secretary bans pagers from NHS hospitals

25 Feb 2019
Visit/security/internet-security/354417/avast-and-avg-extensions-pulled-from-chrome
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019
Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/policy-legislation/data-governance/354496/brexit-security-talks-under-threat-after-uk-accused-of
data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/354468/if-not-passwords-then-what
cyber security

If not passwords then what?

8 Jan 2020
Visit/policy-legislation/31772/gdpr-and-brexit-how-will-one-affect-the-other
Policy & legislation

GDPR and Brexit: How will one affect the other?

9 Jan 2020
Visit/web-browser/30394/what-is-http-error-503-and-how-do-you-fix-it
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020