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13.01.17

Barts Health trust hit with ransomware attack

Barts Health NHS FT has been hit by an IT attack today (13 January) leading the trust to take a number of its drives offline in a bid to protect sensitive files.

The trust is understood to be the victim of a ‘ransomware’ attack, in which phishing messages attempt to blackmail the victim for money in exchange for restoring access to the computer system.

Barts said that it is making “every effort” to ensure that patient care will not be affected by the attack as it investigates the issue.

“We are urgently investigating this matter and have taken a number of drives offline as a precautionary measure,” a Barts Health statement confirmed.

“We have tried and tested contingency plans in place and are making every effort to ensure that patient care will not be affected.”

Barts Health has already established that some of its vital systems have not been affected by the attack such as its Cerner Millennium patient administration system and its radiology department’s clinical system.

In October last year, a computer virus infected electronic systems at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS FT (NLAG), forcing it to cancel the vast majority of its operations and appointments while the virus was isolated and destroyed.

The NHS had already been seen as increasingly susceptible to cyber-attacks as new measures were announced to improve the NHS’s cyber-security at the NHS Expo just the month before.

Barts Health NHS FT is responsible for overseeing four hospitals in east London: The Royal London, St Bartholomew’s, Whipps Cross and Newham. Whipps Cross is a constantly problematic hospital for Barts as it was rated as inadequate once again by the CQC last December.

(Image c. Jennifer Cockerell, PA Archive)

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