NHS Faces 'Major' Ransomware Hack, Reports of Using 'Pens and Paper'


According to news reports, the U.K's National Health Service (NHS) is facing a major attack on its NHS 111 service.

On Aug. 6, The Guardian reported that a partner of the NHS that handles a portion the NHS' appointment bookings and referrals was hit by hackers, resulting in outages of NHS 111, which is a phone (or online) service used to "help people get the right advice and treatment when they urgently need it," according to the official NHS Web site

The NHS told The Guardian in an official statement that the disruptions have been "minimal," but one ambulance company affected by the hit says it's a major outage and there are reports staff have had to resort to using pens and paper

As of Monday, the service was still warning users that they would face delays. 

The attack was confirmed to be a ransomware attack by Aug. 8, according to Strategic Risk. There's no word yet as to what kind of attack it was or whether NHS plans to pay a bounty. 

Many news articles brought up the compliance standards in place for NHS' partners -- if they are, indeed, strict enough to prevent this kind of hack from happening or, with the prevalence of ransomware, if this is inevitable. 

The emergency 999 line remains unaffected. 

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the former editorial director and director of Web for 1105 Media's Converge 360 group, and she now serves as vice president of AI for company, specializing in developing media, events and training for companies around AI and generative AI technology. She's the author of "ChatGPT Prompt 101 Guide for Business Users" and other popular AI resources with a real-world business perspective. She regularly speaks, writes and develops content around AI, generative AI and other business tech. Find her on X/Twitter @beckynagel.

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