NHS cyber-attack: Comment from Cyber Security Lead at Mishcon de Reya
Following news that the NHS has been hit with a large-scale cyber-attack, Joe Hancock, cyber security expert at law firm Mishcon de Reya, said:
"Today's large-scale cyber-attack on the NHS seems to be a criminally motivated ransomware attack. Whilst there is currently little evidence of ransoms being paid, it is possible that some smaller organisations will do so, although they may then deny it. The attack seems to have spread between interconnected systems, affecting multiple NHS trusts and providers and impacting their operations.
"High profile cyber-attacks are often closely linked to geo-politics, and this is likely to become a national issue over the coming weeks, especially for a sector that is key to the critical national infrastructure.
"There have been recent examples of attacks affecting healthcare globally – such as huge leaks of US medical records, for example - and it was therefore almost inevitable that this type of activity would cross the Atlantic at some point. That said, it is surprising to see it happen at this scale, and it is increasingly critical that systems are put in place to stop such attacks.
"These attacks aren't new. They are a problem for many large organisations, and hospitals often have issues with Data Protection more broadly, whilst IT and technical systems are often not as advanced as in the private sector, making them an easy target. Simply doing the basics can prevent attacks of this type."