Ormskirk Hospitals are affected by a large scale cyber attack, which has
resulted in NHS England declaring a major incident. They are 2 of the many
hospitals across England that have been hit by an international cyber attack. We
are told that 11 countries have been affected by the ransomware cyber attack,
including:- US, China, Russia, Spain, Italy and Taiwan. But reports in some of
the media suggest that 74 countries might have been affected.
NHS England confirmed that details of patient records and appointment schedules,
as well as internal phone lines and emails, have all been rendered inaccessible,
by what is reported to be a result of ransomware on the network. NHS Digital
said it was aware of the problem and would release more details soon.
At this point, NHS Digital have said:- "A number of NHS organizations have
reported to NHS Digital that they have been affected by a ransomware attack. The
investigation is at an early stage, but we believe the malware variant is Wanna
Decryptor. This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting
organizations from across a range of sectors. At this stage, we do not have any
evidence that patient data has been accessed."
They have added on today that:- "NHS Digital is working closely with the
National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to
support affected organizations and ensure patient safety is protected. Our focus
is on supporting organizations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively,
but we will continue to communicate with NHS colleagues and will share more
information as it becomes available."
We are told that the problem was 1st reported at around 3.30pm, on 12 May 2017,
by 16 NHS organizations.
Southport and Ormskirk hospital NHS trust are 1 of the 16 NHS organizations who
have been affected. They have said:- "You should avoid A&E if possible and
it's safe to do so. Also Outpatient appointments have been cancelled tomorrow.
We'll phone you to re-arrange on Monday. We thank local people for their
understanding and cooperation."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is being briefed by the National Cyber Security
Centre, a Downing Street spokesman said:- "We are also told that Theresa
May is being kept informed of the situation."
Theresa May has told the press that:- "We are aware that a number of NHS
organizations have reported that they have suffered a ransomware attack. We are
told that this is not targeted at the NHS, it's an international attack and that
a number of countries and organizations have been affected. The National Cyber
Security Centre is working closely with NHS digital to ensure that they support
the organizations concerned and that they protect patient safety. We are not
aware of any evidence that patient data has been compromised."
The National Crime Agency's Press Office have confirmed to us that:- "We
are working with National Cyber Security Centre to investigate nationwide cyber
attacks reported to us today, by NHS Digital. We have not have any more
information we can pass on as of yet, to the media."
Other areas of the NHS who have been affected, by what appears to have been a
simultaneous hit, are East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust, Bart's Health in
London, Essex Partnership University NHS Trusts, University Hospital of
Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and Blackpool teaching hospital NHS
We are also told that GP surgeries across Liverpool and parts of Greater
Manchester also appeared to have been affected by the cyber attack.
The affected computers, we are told, show a pop up message had been introduced
on to the network asking users to pay $300 to be able to access their PCs.
Law enforcement agencies have suggested that the attack is of a criminal nature,
as opposed to being a cyber attack by a foreign power, and is being treated as
serious, but without 'National Security' implications.
If you need medical advice for a non-urgent condition over the weekend, the
NHS:- 111 helpline can provide fast and free advice. Your local pharmacy can
also advise of treatment for minor ailments.
If you are affected by this issue, please let us know.