28 NHS trusts admit attempts of ‘ransomware’ attacks

September 5th, 2016 by Mark Daly in Industry News No Comments »

Ransomware is a type of malware that can encrypt all the data on a computer, blocking access to data until the hackers are paid off.

A large West Country teaching hospital was the target of an attempted cyber blackmail attempt, local press in Plymouth are reporting today.

Hackers infected some devices at the city’s Derriford Hospital, which is the primary hospital for Plymouth and also serves nearby areas of Devon and Cornwall, and then demanded ‘ransom’ before they’d undo the work.

However, the attack was dealt with quickly and no hospital information was compromised, say managers at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which includes Derriford.

“The particular incident referred to was an opportunistic ‘phishing’ form of general malware, not a targeted attack,” Derriford representatives are quoted as telling The Plymouth Herald.

“The Trust does not disclose details of attempted attacks, as to do so would assist hackers in refining their methods.”

Blocking access to all the hospital’s data

The revelation, which comes on the back of a string of such events in the US including a $3.4m (approx. £2.5m) attack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in LA that put all systems offline for a whole week, is from a Freedom of Information request made by cyber-security firm NCC Group.

Derriford and a number of other UK health sites have been warned about the dangers of so-called ‘ransomware’ – a type of malware, usually spread via email attachments, which is triggered can encrypt all the data on a computer, even the entire hospital’s network, blocking access to data until the hackers are paid off.

The ‘ransom’ is usually requested in e-currency Bitcoin, say experts.

The company contacted 60 Trusts, asking if they were attacked by ransomware in the last 12 months.

Thirty-one declined to answer, citing patient confidentiality, but 28 confirmed to have been attacked, with only one saying it hasn’t been a target – though it had been hit in the past.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

NEED MORE INFORMATION?Contact us to see how we can help your business

Call our Sales Team on:

+44 (0)121 289 3434

or email us at: