Cash injection aims to protect NHS against future WannaCry-esque attacks
The UK government has pledged to provide an extra £21 million in order to improve cyber security across the NHS amidst the ever-growing threat of cyber attacks.
The government wants to make the NHS more resilient to cyber threats and make hospital bosses more accountable for their security architecture, in the wake of the WannaCry ransomware attack which impacted multiple facilities in May.
The announcement comes after the publication of a report into the state of data security in the NHS, which was carried out by National Data Guardian Dame Fiona Caldicott.
The report calls for NHS Trusts to put more emphasis on the importance of data security and outlines ten recommended standards that should be met to get the organisation’s security posture up to the required standard.
Cyber security at the NHS has long been under the microscope, with factors such as poor security training, weak IT security measures and the use of outdated Windows XP operating systems putting patient data at risk.
And the fact that nearly a third of NHS Trusts have been hit by ransomware attacks in the past year highlights just how serious the issue has become.
“New technological advances offer extraordinary opportunities for patient data to be used to improve people’s individual care and to improve health, care and services through research and planning”, said Dame Fiona.
“We will only be able to harness those opportunities if the public trusts that the health and care system is doing all it can to keep patient data secure, to meet their expectations on confidentiality and to be transparent.
“I believe that the implementation of my recommendations will be an important step in this process and very much welcome the Government announcements today.”
Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy added: “The NHS has a long history of safeguarding confidential data, but with the growing threat of cyber attacks including the WannaCry ransomware attack in May, this government has acted to protect information across the NHS.”