NHS Ransomware Cyber-Attack Was Preventable


Cyber Attack


By Conor Deane-McKenna in The Conversation.


In a matter of hours, the NHS was effectively placed on lockdown with computer systems being held ransom and further machines powered down to prevent the spread of malware. Critical patient information has been inaccessible and several hospitals urged people to avoid accident and emergency departments, except in cases of real emergencies.

Ransomware is the form of computer malware that has infected the NHS. Typically, it encrypts user information and then demands payment before unlocking the information. In this case the ransomware demands a fee of US$300 (£230) payable in the crypto-currency, bitcoin, allowing the perpetrators a degree of anonymity.

British law enforcement have called it a criminal attack rather than one orchestrated by a foreign state. The British public can take some small comfort in this; criminal organisations are not as well funded and the malware may be easier to remove without the loss of patient files. It is too early to say categorically who is responsible for the attack though it is certainly the most devastating cyber-attack on British infrastructure ever.


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