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Ransomware attacks on the rise: 28 NHS England trusts targeted over year

28 NHS England trusts have reportedly been hit by ransomware attacks over the past year. The figures released as part of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request reveals growing concerns at health organisations being specifically targeted by cybercriminals.

According to the cyber security firm NCC Group, who requested the FOI, four of the 28 attacks were deemed so bad, that they have been reported as possibly having data stolen from the trusts. While the percentage of trusts targeted remains low at 14 per cent, this doesn’t hide the fact, according to NCC, that millions of patients records are under threat of being stolen.

According to the organisation that manages cybersecurity for the trusts, while there has been an increase in ransomware attacks, no money had been paid to cyber criminals over these attacks. They also said categorically that no data had been stolen during these attacks.

With ransomware attacks on healthcare institutes on the rise, cybercriminals are finding the industry a very lucrative target. Director of Government Relations at Intel Security, Gordon Morrision said of the FOI data: “With news today that as many as 28 NHS trusts in England have fallen victim to ransomware in the last year alone, there can be no dispute as to the threat this attack vector poses to the NHS. Trusts should take all necessary steps to prevent ransomware infections and to reduce the impact of attacks when they breach defences.

“From backing-up systems daily and developing an incident response policy, to educating staff on how to spot ‘phishing attacks’, organisations actively working to reduce their risk will find themselves better placed to fend off ransomware attackers – protecting patient data, revenues and reputations.”

Filed in: News

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