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Learning from NHS Ransomware Attack: Strengthening Healthcare Cybersecurity With IT Managed Solutions
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Learning from NHS Ransomware Attack: Strengthening Healthcare Cybersecurity With IT Managed Solutions

Ransomware attacks are on the rise in the UK with an increase of 70 per cent in 2023 according to official figures, making the UK the second most targeted country for cyberattacks in the world. For the healthcare sector, ransomware poses a significant risk as it can encrypt critical patient data and hospital systems, disrupting the delivery of medical services. The inability of healthcare staff to access patient data can lead to delayed treatments, risks to patient safety, and the loss of sensitive health information. Also, healthcare providers may experience financial loss, either through the payment of ransoms or the implementation of data recovery and system restoration measures.

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In this article, we’ll consider the implications of a ransomware attack on the health service and how cybersecurity in healthcare can protect your organisation.

Ransomware: The Ever-Present Risk To The NHS

In May 2023, the NHS was hit by a massive ransomware attack that encrypted files on thousands of computers across hospitals and healthcare facilities. The hackers demanded Bitcoin payments to provide decryption keys to unlock the data and, although no ransom was paid, disruption to services was extensive. The NHS cybersecurity attack crippled healthcare provision, forcing emergency cases to be diverted to other facilities and the cancellation of thousands of appointments and planned surgeries. Fortunately, no patient data was breached but the attack highlighted vulnerabilities in outdated IT infrastructure. The NHS had been slow to apply critical security updates, allowing the ransomware to spread rapidly across the network.

The attack prompted the NHS to commit to major cybersecurity improvements, including updating outdated software, strengthening network defences, implementing better backup systems, and delivering cybersecurity training for all staff. Though disruptive, these quick actions helped to resolve the attack and prevented the crisis from worsening.

How Managed Cybersecurity Solutions Can Protect Your Organisation


Managed cybersecurity is crucial to protect the NHS from ransomware attacks through the provision of comprehensive threat detection software that is essential for safeguarding sensitive healthcare data. These solutions continuously monitor networks for suspicious activities so that new and emerging threats can be swiftly identified and mitigated.


Additionally, a suite of protective measures enhances security:

  • Data protection software ensures that patient information remains encrypted and inaccessible to malicious actors. The NHS ransomware attack of 2023 had the potential to expose crucial patient data, such as NHS numbers and postcodes which could have impacted vital services such as ambulance dispatches, patient referrals, appointment bookings, and emergency prescriptions.

  • Employee training raises awareness about cybersecurity risks, equipping staff with the knowledge to recognise and avoid potential threats.

  • Security audits and compliance checks ensure the ongoing effectiveness of security protocols and ensure it can adapt to new threats and maintain robust defence against ransomware attacks.

How Secure Is Your Organisation?

If you are concerned that your organisation could be subjected to a cybersecurity attack, it is vital that you assess the security of your networks. To find out more, simply download the free TMB Guide to Cybersecurity.

The TMB Guide To Cyber Security

Image Source: Canva