News NHS welcomes move to block the hackers
COVENTRY and Warwickshire NHS Trust has welcomed a national ‘ethical hacker’ unit that will oversee the health service’s digital defences.
The £20million initiative announced earlier this week will use experts to pinpoint weaknesses in systems rather than just being reactive.
In May the WannaCry attack crippled many NHS trusts, including Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital, and the new operation will try to prevent such meltdowns.
The Trust currently spends £37,000 a year on cyber-security, according to information provided after a Freedom of Information Act request.
This includes £12,000 on ‘end user’ protection licenses needed for securing laptops and mobile phones, £7,000 on ‘gateway’ licenses for filtering and monitoring content and £18,000 on firewalls and related protection.
Under the new initiative announced by NHS Digital, the health service computing agency, hospitals will be advised by a national data security team replicating the same methods used in previous cyber-attacks.
Gale Hart, director of finance, performance and information at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “We are working closely with NHS Digital to ensure we put in place the most appropriate measures to protect IT systems from disruption and potential criminal attack.
“We place the highest priority on taking care of the data we handle about patients, staff and all the people we serve across Coventry and Warwickshire.
“Any national initiative dedicated to supporting NHS organisations like ours is welcome for the additional protection and reassurance this will help create.”
Wannacry affected a third of England’s hospitals, with the National Audit Office concluding that it could have been prevented by ‘basic IT security best practice’.
NHS Digital is now seeking a partner to support them with the project, tendered to run for three to four years, as it seeks to bolster health service defences.