Trusts told to remain vigilant with updated cyber-attack guidance

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Hundreds of hospitals and clinics in the British National Health Service were infected on Friday, forcing them to send patients to other facilities.

Ten surgeries across the region were hit by the malware attack, which affected how staff could access patient records.

"Police Scotland are investigating the attack, working closely with the National Crime Agency which is leading the UK-wide law enforcement investigative response".

The cyber attack which crippled parts of the NHS and brought disruption to companies across the globe underlines the massive challenge of keeping systems secure in the face of rampant criminality.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA chief executive said: "The NHS ransomware attack needs to be a stark reminder for all government organisations to ensure IT security is optimal, regularly reviewed and upgraded, and given the resources to match our reliance on digital systems".

An NHS update for the North East and North Cumbria said its primary care computer network was switched back on yesterday afternoon, with practices back up and running this morning.

Seeming to have everything in hand, the attention now diverts to who is to blame for these attacks, with large organisations needing to work in a proactive rather than reactive manner when it comes to protecting their data.

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Jan Filochowski, who ran six trusts including Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London, said: "Most of the NHS IT system is out of date".

He told a committee of peers that the NHS was "weak" on hospital IT systems, following warnings that half of hospitals are at least five years behind schedule.

The Department of Homeland Security began an "aggressive awareness campaign" to alert industry partners to the importance of installing the Microsoft patch shortly after it was released in March, an agency official working on the attack said.

"If a system supports some kind of critical processes those systems typically are very hard to patch".

It said in a statement: "NHS Digital issued a targeted update on a secure portal accessible to NHS staff on April 25, and then via a bulletin to more than 10,000 security and IT professionals on April 27 to alert them to this specific issue".

However, Wainwright said so far "remarkably few" payments had been made by the victims of the attack.

It has posted advice for patients after a small number of hospitals had to cancel patient appointments due to a cyber attack which affected 150 countries worldwide.

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