Just this Friday, the NHS experienced what is now being called a ‘ransomware attack’, with the cyber security breach causing 16 out of 47 trusts to face issues.
Suffering ongoing disruption, GP appointments have been cancelled across the NHS as it recovers from the global outbreak, seeing the number of doctors diverting patients from A&E to drop dramatically.
NHS Wales has announced that none of its computer systems have been impacted and no patient data affected by a global cyber-attack.
“Our systems prevented the virus activating and the machines were isolated,” a Welsh Government spokesman said.
But email blocks have been extended for another 24 hours within the Welsh health service as a precaution.
The Welsh Government said precautionary measures had been taken “to ensure the integrity of the system and we continue to monitor the situation closely”.
“We have recently invested in upgrading IT to protect potentially vulnerable NHS Wales systems and all GP systems in Wales are managed and supported centrally, with best practice security controls.
“Additional steps continue to be taken to protect NHS IT systems and we would like to thank National Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) and IT teams across the NHS who have been working tirelessly over the weekend.”
Regarding the attacks across the rest of the country Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, attended a Cobra committee meeting on cyber-security on Monday. With everyone expecting a second spike in cyber attacks he said it was “encouraging” that no fresh attacks were conducted.
“We’ve not seen a second wave of attacks and the level of criminal activity is at the lower end of the range that we had anticipated,” he said.
At present, patients are being advised to still turn up to their scheduled appointments, and while the NHS systems cannot confirm details of them, they are doing their best to instil as little inconvenience as possible.
But Dr Anne Rainsberry, national incident director at NHS, said there were “encouraging signs” the situation was improving.
“The message to patients is clear: the NHS is open for business. Staff are working hard to ensure that the small number of organisations still affected return to normal shortly.”
Seeming to have everything in hand, the attention now diverts to who is to blame for these attacks, with large organisations needing to work in a proactive rather than reactive manner when it comes to protecting their data.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who chaired the Cobra meeting on cyber security, said the UK was working with international partners in the global manhunt to find the ransomware’s creators.
“The National Cyber Security Centre and the NCA are working with Europol and other international partners to make sure that we all collect the right evidence, which we need to do, to make sure we have the right material to find out who has done this and go after them, which we will,” she said.
Highlighting the seriousness of cyber attacks, many smaller businesses will now look to protect their company data and learn more about what measures can be taken. If you are a Welsh business concerned about your data, then be sure to make use of our cyber security advice hub today. There you will find a vast range of guides and tips on how to secure your business – businessnewswales.com/cyber-security/