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Organisations urged to take security steps after cyber-attack

15 May, 2017 9:19 AM
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Organisations urged to take security steps after cyber-attack

Organisations across Scotland have been warned to take steps to protect cyber security as systems get back up and running on Monday.

It follows Friday's ransomware attack on NHS computers which affected 13 health bodies in Scotland.

There are fears of more cyber attacks as people begin work after the weekend, although few have been reported so far.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told BBC Scotland that patient confidentiality had not been affected.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme she said she expected computer networks "by and large" to be up and running on Monday morning, but urged organisations to follow government guidance and take appropriate security steps.

"The Scottish government has been coordinating a process over the weekend of contacting round about 120 public sector organisations to make sure that these messages have got out there strongly, but obviously private sector companies are potentially vulnerable as well," the first minister said.

"I think there is a concern that as people switch on their computers on a Monday morning we may see more impact from this virus, but we will be continuing to work as hard as we can to minimise that."

Across Scotland, the security breach disrupted GP surgeries, dental practices and other primary care centres.

Eleven area health boards were affected, as were NHS National Services and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The impact of the breach was especially felt in NHS Lanarkshire, where doctors at acute hospital sites had to rely on pen and paper to process some patients.

The virus is known as Wanna Decryptor or WannaCry. It locks users' files and demands a $300 (£230) payment to allow access.

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Ms Sturgeon said no patient data had been lost in the ransomware attack.

"One thing that is very important to stress is that there is no evidence that there has been any patient data compromised, so patient confidentiality hasn't been affected, but of course there will have been an impact on patients with some appointments cancelled," she said.

An investigation is under way to identify the cause of the attack and ministers are to convene an extraordinary meeting of the National Cyber Resilience leaders' board on Tuesday to review the response to the breach.

Ms Sturgeon said she was not aware of any ransoms being paid over the cyber attack but said that will be part of the police investigation.

A "range" of Windows operation systems are used by the NHS in Scotland and Ms Sturgeon said there is regular investment in cyber security.

She added: "We invest heavily in cyber resistance. The Scottish Government, in the NHS, invests round about £100m a year. NHS boards will collectively invest a similar amount.

"We expect systems, by and large, to be up and running today, obviously there will be ongoing work to learn lessons about what has happened."

It blamed governments for storing data on software vulnerabilities which could then be accessed by hackers.

Which Scottish NHS organisations were affected by the ransomware attack?

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