NHS left in chaos af­ter cy­ber at­tack

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - CHAR­LOTTE COX

ACYBER at­tack plunged the NHS into chaos across Greater Manch­ester and the wider UK on Fri­day.

GP prac­tices and hos­pi­tals in the re­gion were among or­gan­i­sa­tions across the world ‘held to ran­som’ by the hack­ers.

The ‘ran­somware’ cam­paign hit up to 25 NHS or­gan­i­sa­tions na­tion­wide and was de­clared as a ‘ma­jor in­ci­dent’ on Fri­day.

It caused prob­lems ac­cess­ing pa­tient files in prac­tices and Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group head­quar­ters in Stockport, Tame­side and Glossop, Old­ham, Bury, Manch­ester, Sal­ford and Wi­gan.

Den­tal prac­tices in Traf­ford are also un­der­stood to have been af­fected. Staff re­ported hav­ing to write notes by hand and turn off their com­put­ers, while some medics were said to have been sent home. Traf­ford Hos­pi­tal’s com­puter sys­tem was hit and there were un­con­firmed re­ports that Manch­ester Royal In­fir­mary ex­pe­ri­enced dif­fi­culty ac­cess­ing some files.

Mean­while, Wright­ing­ton, Wi­gan and Leigh NHS Foun­da­tion Trust asked pa­tients to ‘avoid A&E’.

Medics con­tin­ued to treat pa­tients de­spite the ‘un­prece­dented’ cri­sis, but in many cases were un­able to ac­cess pa­tient files, emails or even phone­lines.

Hack­ers warned staff that all their files would be deleted in seven days un­less bit­coin cur­rency was paid.

A spokes­woman from the Stockport CCG, which over­sees GPs in the bor­ough, said all 47 of their prac­tices had been ad­vised to print out ap­point­ment de­tails and save work be­cause it could ‘all be wiped’.

Sim­i­lar sto­ries came in from across Greater Manch­ester as medics bat­tled through the af­ter­noon de­spite the glitches.

As the at­tack un­folded, screen­shots were shared by vic­tims show­ing a locked com­puter with a de­mand for pay­ment. Re­ports of in­fec­tions came from across the UK, US, China, Rus­sia, Spain, Italy, Viet­nam, Tai­wan and oth­ers.

One cy­ber-se­cu­rity re­searcher tweeted that he had de­tected more than 36,000 in­stances of the ran­somware, called Wan­naCry and vari­ants of that name.

A spokes­woman from NHS Dig­i­tal said there was no ev­i­dence pa­tient data had been ac­cessed but they would con­tinue to work with af­fected or­gan­i­sa­tions.

She added: “This at­tack was not specif­i­cally tar­geted at the NHS and is af­fect­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions from across a range of sec­tors. Our fo­cus is on sup­port­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions to man­age the in­ci­dent swiftly and de­ci­sively.”

Tele­coms gi­ant Tele­fon­ica said in a state­ment it was aware of a ‘cy­ber­se­cu­rity in­ci­dent’ but clients and ser­vices had not been af­fected.

Power firm Iber­drola and util­ity provider Gas Nat­u­ral were also re­ported to have suf­fered from the out­break.

There were re­ports staff at the firms were told to turn off their com­put­ers.

GP prac­tices and hos­pi­tals were ‘held to ran­som’ by hack­ers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.