Cyber Attacks

In May 2017, many NHS Trusts and organisations were hit by a ransomware cyber attack, including GP practices. Although NHS England said no patient data had been compromised or stolen, a Government report criticised the NHS for not following cyber security recommendations.

More than a third of trusts in England were disrupted by the WannaCry ransomware, according to the National Audit Office (NAO) with at least 6,900 NHS appointments cancelled as a result of the attack.

WannaCry, which spread to more than 150 countries in a worldwide ransomware outbreak beginning on 12 May 2017, was the biggest cyber-attack to have hit the NHS to date.

The malware encrypted data on infected computers and demanded a ransom roughly equivalent to £230 ($300). The NAO report said there was no evidence that any NHS organisation paid the ransom – but the financial cost of the incident remained unknown.

An assessment of 88 out of 236 trusts by NHS Digital before the attack found that none passed the required cyber-security standards.

We have collated the latest guidance and advice from a range of sources about cyber security. This includes how to avoid falling victim to ransomware and what to do in these situations.

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