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Just how vulnerable is our healthcare system to cyber attacks?

Just how vulnerable is our healthcare system to cyber attacks?


Cyber-attacks are becoming far more common in the modern day, especially on big companies. One quite big target of these attacks is the NHS. The latest consequential attack was the WannaCry attack which took place back in 2017 and although there have been steps taken to preventing this again, the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) state that if there is not significant investment soon, then patients are still at risk from these attacks.  

All this chaos, during a major turn over in the NHS as they start bringing in a lot more technology to help care for their patients. After research in to healthcare IT within the NHS, three key areas of weakness were identified.  

  1. The new technology being brought in to help the doctors and nurses, leave the sectors more vulnerable to attack. This is if they are not configured properly which is why employing people to set them up who know what they are doing in of high importance. 
  2. Common software flaws are one thing that the NHS are usually very quick to resolve.  However, the landscape set out for the NHS by the IGHI is not great and is clearly due to the final issue which we will mention in a moment. The bleakness of the situation is shown when, after the WannaCry attack, no trust has passed the governments cyber security assessment.  
  3. All the problems above could be resolved if it not for the main issue facing healthcare IT within the NHS and that is its lack of funding. 1-2% is being spent I n the IT area on running costs compared to 4-10% in other areas. This is a major difference and is proof more funding is needed. 

With companies becoming more vulnerable to attacks, a lot are doing all they can to prevent a major breach from occurring. It is vital that the NHS, the UKS National Health Service, gets the funding it needs in order to do the same.  

Image from Safety4Sea.com

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