News emerged last week that a virus had infected the network of the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundations Trust (NLAG), forcing it to shut down computers in two hospitals and cancel operations across Lincolnshire.
While the antenatal clinics, chemotherapy treatments and emergency departments remained open, a major incident was declared. Operations and outpatient appointments were cancelled for a 48-hour period to enable IT staff to investigate and remove the malware. While the majority of systems have now been reportedly restored, details of the malware or whether this was a specifically-targeted attack against NLAG are limited.
This is just one of many examples of the cyber threat facing the healthcare sector. It emerged as a significant cyber security risk in 2016 and research from IBM has revealed that the healthcare industry became the most-attacked sector in 2015. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has also recently reported that half of all UK data breaches reported to the ICO in the final quarter of 2015 came from private or public health organisations.