A widespread, targeted ransomware attack has taken down NHS IT systems across the UK today.
Hospitals across the country have been hit by the attack, with East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust warning that it has been so severely affected that patients should try to avoid it altogether.
NHS England this afternoon suggested that NHS organisations across the country had been attacked by the WCry ransomware, while security specialists Malware Hunter suggested that it wasn't just the NHS coming under attack, or even the UK, but part of a global campaign that has been unleashed today.
Experts from the security industry have been quick to comment.
Brian Lord OBE, former Deputy Director GCHQ Cyber and Intelligence, now MD PGI Cyber, said that it appears to be a "wide ranging, well-coordinated attack, using a new variant of Ransomware."
"It was well thought out, well-timed and well-coordinated. But fundamentally, there is nothing unusual about its delivery. It is still fundamentally robbery and extortion, albeit large scale."
Lord criticised some NHS Trusts' response to the attack.
"The impact on services has not been caused by the ransomware, it has been caused by the Trust's necessary reaction to it, whereby they have had to shut everything down to stop its spread - not helped by poor understanding of network configuration meaning everything has to shut down.
"Something like this was always inevitable. While organisations are distracted by high profile dramatized threats , such as Russian election hacking, they are neglecting basic cyber hygiene measures which can prevent the mass effectiveness of mass ransomware attacks like this.
"Hopefully, this is a wakeup call. Until basic cyber hygiene is taken seriously, these attacks will continue to happen at this scale with an impact disproportionate to the nature of the attack."
Lord added that the security industry too had lessons it could learn from the attack.
"The cyber security industry itself also needs to accept its share of responsibility. The reason basic breaches are growing is because organisations aren't protecting themselves properly, because they are being made confused by the cyber vendors who avoid the most straightforward solutions
"A ‘cyber mythology' has been created by the industry, to sell unnecessarily expensive solutions through fear. A high profile cyber-attack such as this could and should have been prevented with relatively low cost solutions
"It isn't either expensive or complicated to understand and manage these risks. But while it is still made so, incidents like the one the NHS has experienced will continue and the real world effect will be greater than it needs to be."
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