NHS left vulnerable to cyber attacks

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Experts from the British Computer Society (BCS) & The Chartered Institute for IT have claimed that a lack of investment in cyber-security software and accountability left the NHS open to the Wannacry virus.

The malware disrupted hospital staff across the UK in May as computers systems crashed, leaving frontline hospital staff unable to access important patient information, with operations cancelled and doctors and nurses forced to rely on hand-written notes to track patient’s case histories and treatments.

A report into the attack by the BCS found that the crisis could have been avoided had hospital IT teams had an official cyber-attack protocol, in-house cyber-security experts and up-to-date secure software.

‘’Patients should be able to trust that hospital computer systems are as solid as the first-class doctors and nurses that make our NHS the envy of the world,” said David Evans, director of community & policy at The Chartered Institute.

“Unfortunately, without the necessary IT professionals, proper investment and training the damage caused by the Wannacry ransomware virus was an inevitability, but with the roadmap we are releasing today, will make it less likely that such an attack will have the same impact in the future.”

The Chartered Institute of IT has joined forces with the Patient’s Association, the Royal College of Nursing, Microsoft to produce a blueprint that outlines steps NHS trusts should take to avoid another crippling cyber-attack.

Top of the list is ensuring there are clearly laid-out standards for accrediting relevant IT professionals. NHS board are being urged to ensure they understand their responsibilities, how to make use of registered cyber security experts and increase the number of qualified and registered IT professionals.

AUTHOR

Stuart O'Brien

All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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