May 26, 2017

A&Es 'fully open' again — NHS cyber attack

19 May 2017, 10:48 | Winifred Adams

The NHS has been declared "open for business" but some hospitals are still suffering disruption caused by the crippling ransomware attack.

Large swathes of the NHS were paralysed by the cyber attack, which hit 200,000 victims in 150 countries around the world.

"The vast majority of patients have noticed no difference". That is what led to him working for a USA security firm from a room in his parents' house - and helping save hospitals and the rest of the world from the virus.

The NHS says it employs more than 1.5 million people, making it one of the world's biggest employers alongside the US Department of Defence, Walmart and the Chinese army.

Jan Filochowski, who ran six trusts including Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London, said: "Most of the NHS IT system is out of date".

However this did not materialise and Hunt told the BBC that, despite the cancellation of numerous patient appointments and operations, 80% of the NHS was "unaffected".

Accident and emergency units in England were almost back to normal yesterday, the National Health Service (NHS) said, after the last restrictions put in place following the global cyber attack were lifted.

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"They have been working I know through the night nearly to make sure patches are in place to make sure that hopefully the NHS services can get back to normal", he told BBC radio.

Ransomware attacks are some of the most immediately damaging forms of cyber-attacks that affect home users, enterprises and governments equally.

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

In his first public comments since the attack, Mr Hunt told Sky News: "Although we have never seen anything on this scale when it comes to ransomware attacks, they are relatively common and there are things that you can do, that everyone can do, all of us can do, to protect ourselves against them".

In response, then life sciences minister George Freeman said: "We are working with suppliers, including Microsoft, to help health and care organisations update their systems and make sure they are safe to use and store data".

Ben Wallace, UK Security Minister, has called issues raised during the past few days around the use of Windows XP across the NHS following the global cyber attack "red herrings".

Furthermore, the latest ransomware attack - believed to have come from a flaw in Microsoft's Windows software that the the US National Security Agency used to build a hacking tool for its own use - highlights the need for health services to introduce a comprehensive back-up plan and recovery processes in the event of a cyber-security breach.

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