CYBER CRIME: Hackers set their sights on the NHS in this area

The NHS has been attacked by computer hackers
Picture: Shutterstock
The NHS has been attacked by computer hackers Picture: Shutterstock
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CRIMINALS are taking aim at the NHS in the area, figures show.

Johnston Press Investigations found that the Wannacry attack, which affected 47 NHS trusts in England and Wales and 11 NHS boards in Scotland, was preceded by more than 50 other successful cyber attacks on the health service.

They ranged from denial of service attacks and the defacing or blocking of websites to 36 ransomware incidents at 17 hospitals where data was encrypted and users received a demand for payment to secure its return.

In keeping with government policy on ransomware attacks, none of the NHS trusts, councils or other public bodies whose systems were breached paid for the release of the data and all insisted that no data was stolen.

The investigation found Solent NHS Trust, which runs St James Hospital in Milton and other services in the area, had 12 computers encrypted in the WannaCry ransomware attack on the NHS in May.

Access to external email and the internet was terminated on Friday, May 12, with 12 machines infected, the trust has said for the first time.

By Monday, May 15 the trust said ‘appropriate patching and security measures’ were in place and the external connections were reinstated. There was no further spread and staff could use clinical systems.

Southern Health was not affected by WannaCry.

Portsmouth NHS Hospitals Trust, which runs the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, said it had not suffered any attacks in the last three years.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson is the former vice-chairman of the Local Government Association, and Lib Dem opposition leader in Portsmouth.

He said: ‘If you think about children in care, children who are subject to child protection order, it’s incredibly sensitive information councils have and if it gets into the wrong hands it puts them at significant risk.

He added: ‘On the whole council IT systems are particularly good because they rely on them so much. Without decent IT, all councils would find things very, very difficult. But like with the NHS it can be that we get stuff that gets through.’