NHS falls victim to Ransomware
Earlier this month, a huge cyber attack on a major IT provider of the NHS was confirmed as a ransomware attack.
The tech firm, Advanced, which generally deals with electronic patient check-ins and NHS 111, has warned that it may take around three to four weeks to fully recover. At the time of this article’s writing, Advanced has not confirmed whether any NHS data has been stolen. The hack was initially spotted at 7am BST on the 4th of August. According to the BBC. Advanced has claimed that: “We are rebuilding and restoring impacted systems in a separate and secure environment.
So before we go any further, let’s talk about what ransomware actually is.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is similar to malware, only instead of simply stealing or corrupting user data, it will hold data to a ransom, locking users out of their data until they comply with the hackers’ demands. Often it’s used for monetary gain, but sometimes, like in this instance, it can simply be to disrupt a company’s ability to provide services. According to the BBC:
“Ransomware hackers are usually financially motivated and part of large, professionally run criminal gangs that target companies and demand hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of pounds in ransom in the form of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.”
Have I been affected?
At this point, it’s hard to say for sure. Some services such as psychiatrists have noted that patient notes are inaccessible and were unable to read a patient’s history, making clinical decisions extremely difficult.
There are millions of people in the UK who rely on the NHS digital services. Ransomware can be made to target huge sectors such as the NHS, or individual people who might fall victim to a scammer. You may have come across or heard of someone who has been affected by a ransomware attack.
Is there anything I can do?
As with all digital ailments: prevention is cheaper than the cure. We do offer a ransomware removal service, but also, we offer free advice to protect yourself from being affected by a ransomware in the future, as well as malware or viruses. Anyone could potentially be targeted by a ransomware attack, and it’s a scary thought to think your money or assets might be held hostage. A lot of antivirus and anti-malware software is available for people to protect themselves with, and we even offer a thirty day free trial with the software Avast, so if you’re thinking about what antivirus software to use, you could always try Avast with us.