Friday 12th May saw the NHS hit by a cyber-attack which affected 47 trusts in England and 13 in Scotland.
As of the 16th May A&E’s were ‘fully open’ again. When the attack hit on Friday, 7 of the 47 trusts affected had to close their doors in A&E to ambulances and a number of routine surgery and GP appointments had to be cancelled.
The ransomware program known as Wanna Decryptor or WannaCry which hacked the NHS, demanded payment in the virtual currency Bitcoin which is harder to trace and is equivalent to £230 to unlock the affected computers. The hack created havoc to the NHS throughout Friday and the weekend, with experts warning the cyber-attack could potentially escalate as the working week began.
But who’s to blame?
After the initial shock of the cyber-attacks settled down, the next question on everybody’s mind was who’s to blame?
Reports have suggested that some hospitals did not install the patches which were sent out in April and designed to deal with such vulnerabilities. This is not conclusive as inability to install the patches could be down to a number of reasons such as the patches not being compatible with the IT systems. It has further not been clarified if the hospitals which were affected were the hospitals that had not installed the patch.
A number of warnings about the IT security in the NHS had been raised early summer 2016 but budgets allocated for buildings and equipment had been raided by the government in order to bail out day to day services.
Jeremy Hunt responded to suggestions that the NHS were to blame by saying that the NHS had upgraded its system before the incident took place.
It’s not clear where the blame falls but what can be said is tougher measures will be put in place to prevent a further attack.