National Audit Office to Investigate Cyber Attack

In response to the recent cyber attack that targeted NHS organisations, the National Audit Office has announced that there will be a major investigation.

The ransomware blight left many GP practices across the country struggling to deliver adequate patient care.

LMCs called for compensation for surgeries affected, after the ransomware attack in May disrupted services and left practices facing a backlog predicted to last weeks.

There have even been reports which suggest that some practices have yet to fully recover from the incident.

While the balance of evidence suggests that confidential patient data has not been compromised, it is clear that there has been a significant impact on both general practice and wider NHS services.

It is this, along with avoiding similar attacks in the future, that will be a focus of the forthcoming investigation.

In a statement on the matter, the National Audit Office stated that it will investigate the cyber attack in order to clarify the impact on the NHS, and to establish reasons why the health service was unprepared.

Examining why some areas of the health service were more strongly impacted than others and setting “out the facts about the cyber attack’s impact on the NHS and its patients” will also be part of the investigation’s modus operandi.

The investigation will also assess the “roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders and how they responded to the attack”.

Responding to calls for an investigation, the National Audit Office issued an official statement.

“In the UK, although the attack was not aimed specifically at the NHS, the NHS was particularly affected. According to reports some hospitals and GPs surgeries were unable to access patient data. This led to appointments and operations being cancelled. It also led to ambulances being diverted from hospitals in some areas.”

Organisations wishing to provide evidence to support the National Audit Office investigation have been urged to contact its investigation team.

A recent study by IBM Security found that the number of ransomware-infected emails increased 6,000 percent in 2016 compared to the previous 12 months.

Attackers are trying harder to infect users’ computers right through their inboxes.

These emails generally have attachments disguised as invoices, statements, spreadsheets, faxes or personal notes.

In this climate, it is obviously essential that the NHS gets its house in order, and delivers a robust system for dealing with the almost inevitable future attacks.


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