The computer systems of 16 of England’s National Health Service (NHS) hospitals were hacked, denying access to physicians unless a ransom was paid, according to a statement.1
The culprit is believed to have used a type of malware called Wanna Decryptor.
The NHS may not have been the primary target; it is unclear whether patient data were accessed.
According to The Guardian, the malware “locked staff out of their computers and forced many trusts to divert emergency patients.”2
One employee reported to The Guardian that a message requiring users to pay $300 for computer access was displayed on affected computers.
According to the NHS’s statement, “NHS Digital is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations and ensure patient safety is protected.”
The attack forced diversion of patients to unaffected centers. Further implications are so far unknown.
Further information can be found here.
- Statement on reported NHS cyber attack [news release]. London, England: National Health Service Digital; May 12, 2017. https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/practice-management/active-medical-device-safety-surveillance-a-new-imperative/. Accessed May 12, 2017.
- Gayle D. NHS hospitals across England hit by large-scale cyber-attack. The Guardian website. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/ may/12/hospitals-across-england-hit-by-large-scale-cyber-attack. Updated May 12, 2017. Accessed May 12, 2017.
This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor