According to the NHS, several hospitals across England have been hit by a widespread cyber-attack, locking staff out of their computers and leaving many trusts to divert emergency patients.
Reports claim that NHS hospitals across the North, East and West Midlands, and London are reporting IT failures with the inability to use phones or computers. It’s also been reported that a number of GP surgeries are unable to use their systems.
NHS Digital said, “A number of NHS organisations have reported to NHS Digital that they have been affected by a ransomware attack which is affecting a number of different organisations. The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor.”
Services affected by this attack are said to include picture archiving communication systems for x-ray images, pathology test results, phone and bleep systems, and patient administration systems.
According to one NHS IT worker, “At approximately 12:30 pm we experienced a problem with our email servers crashing. Following this, a lot of our clinical systems and patient systems were reported to have gone down. A bitcoin virus pop-up message had been introduced on to the network asking users to pay $300 to be able to access their PCs. You cannot get past this screen. This followed with an internal major incident being declared and advised all trust staff to shut down all PCs in the trust and await further instructions.”
A cyber attack of this volume could have devastating consequences far beyond monetary funds. Hospitals are experiencing massive delays and are only able to see the sickest of patients, leaving many to postpone all non-urgent activities.
We will continue to update this story as details become available.