NHS cyber-attack shows no one is immune

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A new cyber-attack has made headline news this evening (Friday 12th May). The ransomware attack on the NHS has impacted a number of hospitals and doctors surgeries across England and Scotland, with reports that it’s part of a wider attack across the world.

It’s not clear where the attack has originated from or who is responsible. Had it been UK only then one could speculate a government sponsored attack. This could still prove to be the case and I guess overtime we’ll find out, along with how the infection occurred.

Ransomware is a form of computer system infection which disables access to files (usually by encrypting them). The system owner is then told that access to the files will only be granted on payment of a ransom (usually in Bitcoin).

Other than paying the ransome (which doesn’t guarantee the files will be unlocked), usually the only solution is to restore from backups in the hope the backups aren’t infected too or indeed they don’t contain a dormant version of the ransomeware.

An attack on a high profile organisation like the NHS will always get media coverage, but what we rarely hear about are ransomeware attacks on all size of businesses. And what this latest attack shows, is that even organisations, like the NHS, with all their resources are vulnerable and in fact no business is immune from attack.

If you take anything from this, it should be to make sure your business is protected as much as possible and that protection is not just technological, your employees need to understand how they can protect your business too.

They’re saying there’s no evidence that any data has been leaked. Let’s hope that remains the case particularly given the nature of data that is vulnerable.

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