NHS cyber-attack – what can we learn from this?

On Friday the 12th May 2017, the NHS was the victim of a major cyber-attack known as Wanna Decryptor or WannaCry. They were among 200,000 others in 150 countries who were hit by this ransomware that locked user files and demanded a payment to allow access. cyber-security-1805632_1280

48 trusts have reported IT problems at hospitals, GP surgeries and pharmacies in England alone. Some hospitals have been forced to cancel treatments and appointments, and have had to resort to using traditional methods of pen and paper instead of technology. Patients have even been advised not to use A&E unless in a critical life condition.

It has been nearly a week since the cyber-attack, and the NHS are still experiencing ‘delays and disruption’ to their services… is this a huge wake up call to all businesses?

The NHS were warned, and warned again this spring…

The government failed to support the NHS with crucial upgrades to security in 2015, even though £1.9bn had initially been set aside for cyber-protection in the UK when cyber-attacks were identified as a major threat to the UK defences.

Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon even stated: “We’re spending around £50m on the NHS cyber systems to improve their security. We have encouraged NHS trusts to reduce their exposure to the weakest system, the Windows XP.”

Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP back in 2014, and encouraged all users to update their computers to remain protected…yet the NHS continued to use an out of date system. Was this cyber-attack something the NHS could have prevented? 

What we can all learn from this…

Can you afford for your data to be compromised? Cyber threats can’t be ignored and we all need to learn from this cyber-attack. If this can happen to some of the largest organisations in the world, then it can happen to you.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure you are doing all you can to protect your business:

  1. Are you up to date? One of the reasons why this attack happened is because of out of date software. You need to ensure all your computers are up to date, and that you have the latest anti-virus software installed – these updates are there to protect you from external threats.
  2. Teach your employees – ensure all your members of staff are trained to spot phishing emails and know how to browse the internet safely.
  3. Be wary of look-alike emails – make sure you check who your emails are coming from. It’s easy to spoof the “From” field in an email address and to edit the name label of a sender.
  1. Avoid clicking links in your emails – If you ever receive an email that asks for personal details and asks for you to click a link, whatever you do, don’t click it. This will likely be spam, and used as a way to steal your personal and company details.

Could your business be vulnerable to cyber-attacks? If you have any questions about cyber security, get in touch with our team on 0800 9520652 or email technical@scstechsolutions.co.uk.