Following the wannaCry incident of 2018, which hit a third of hospital trusts and 8 GP practices by shutting down hundreds of thousands of computers around the world, the healthcare sector was seriously highlighted as a victim of computer cyber crime.

Prior to this, the healthcare sector and in particular the NHS had failed to recognise the importance of running up-to-date systems.  Due to their stretched resources, many computers were either operating on out-of-date software and hardware, had not run their windows updates regularly enough or maintained protection on firewalls, passwords and malware defence.  Subsequently, the situation became the main catalyst for the widespread wannaCry incident which resulted in 19,000 cancelled appointments at a cost of £20m and a further £72m to clean-up the cyber breach, including upgrading all computer to windows 10 so that systems may be supported effectively enough.

Whilst the attack wasn’t specifically targeted at the NHS, it was the North Korean hackers ‘Lazarus Group’ who were blamed by US prosecutors, for spreading it over the internet.

Following this there has been a spate of smaller yet still significant attacks on US health technology companies.  Often because they hold such important and personal data, healthcare systems are vulnerable to computer cyber crime.  Alarmingly, as of January 2019 there had been 419 hacking cases investigated in the US.

Combating against computer cyber crime

Back in the UK, doctors surgeries, private clinics, health centres, the NHS and dental practices need to be fully aware that they are not exempt from a data breach, neither will passing their data to a cloud company guarantee full protection.   However by following a few simple steps and obtaining a cyber security policy against computer cyber crime, it can help to limit the damage caused to organisations.

Calling all health centres and healthcare professionals!  Crendon Insurance Ltd is on hand to help and support your organisation to protect again computer cyber crime. We provide the right tools to assess your current practice and bring your GP Surgery up to standard so as to meet current cyber security and GDPR legislation. Please contact our cyber security insurance team to find out more.

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