Lanarkshire NHS Board Affected by WannaCrypt Now Hit by Malware Again

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One of the UK NHS (National Health Service) boards affected by the WannaCrypt ransomware earlier this year has once again been hit by malware.

On 25th August, the Lanarkshire board came out with this announcement on Facebook: “We have detected some incidences of malware…We took immediate action to prevent this spreading while we carried out further investigations…We are now putting in place a solution from our IT security provider…While the issue is being resolved our staff have been working hard to minimize the impact on patients and we apologize to anyone who has been affected.”

A couple of hours later they came up with another announcement: “We are still experiencing difficulties with our IT systems. Medical director for the acute division Dr Jane Burns is asking people to think before attending our emergency departments (EDs) while our systems are down.

She said: “I would ask that patients do not attend our hospitals unless it is essential. If you do turn up at A&E and do not require emergency care you may be sent away from the department or you may experience a lengthy wait. Emergency care will still be provided for those who do require to be seen.”

Lanarkshire was one among the many NHS districts that were hit by the WannaCrypt (WannaCry) ransomware earlier this year. The WannaCry ransomware, it should be remembered, had a global impact and infected many major companies and organizations worldwide.

The systems at NHS Lanarkshire, including the staff bank system and telephone, went offline following this most recent malware attack. Everything had to be taken offline to contain the malware outbreak with the help of the IT provider.

About 24 hours later, on 26th August, NHS Lanarkshire came posted this detailed update on Facebook- “Following the detection of some incidences of malware on Friday (25 August 2017) staff within ehealth have worked overnight to secure and reinstate our IT systems. Chief executive Calum Campbell said: “We have identified the source of the malware and investigations are ongoing as to how this was able to infiltrate our network. “Our staff have worked hard to minimise the impact on patients and our contingency plans have ensured we have been able to continue to deliver services while the IT issues were resolved. A small number of systems have been affected and these are in the process of being fixed. Unfortunately a small number of procedures and appointments have been cancelled as a result of the incident. I would like to apologise to anyone who has been affected by this disruption, however I can assure you that work is already underway to reappoint patients. “The majority of services have been restored but it may take some time to get services running as normal. We would ask patients who are attending hospital or out-of-hours services over the weekend to bear with us as they may experience longer than waits than usual.”

There are also some reports that security analysts have spotted a strain of ransomware which is targeting hospitals in the UK as well as in the US. We will keep you posted on future developments.

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