The current incident with NHS computers being infected with Ransomware is horrifying for patients and families alike as vital data on treatment becomes unavailable to NHS staff.
Although questions should be asked regarding who would do such a thing to affect the most vulnerable in society, there are other questions which should also be asked.
How was this possible?
The NHS is one of the most important Government departments and should have state of the art technological support. Over the last few years we have all heard of budgets being cut and nursing staff shortages, what about IT staff?
How many Government departments in the UK have ageing IT procedures with updates to technology being few and far between? Local Councils, Police, Prisons, Emergency Services, have any of them got a system that could remotely cope with the type of Ransomware that has hit the NHS today?
The Government may say we have to make savings, the savings however should be in the correct places. Saving on IT when the country is more and more dependent on computerisation is a false economy.
As so many wait and hope that systems can be recovered and treatments recommence, how much damage will have been done and how long will it take for the NHS to recover?
Those who hold these systems to ransom have been working on these viruses’ full time, it is what they do. Unfortunately, it would seem that many Government IT workers spend their time installing users and trying to hold together ageing IT systems. Networks are not PSN compliant so computers have to be upgraded individually, this is a disgrace in this day and age when these computers control life saving information.
It’s time the Government realised that in a computerised and virtual world they need to protect their assets with suitably qualified people who are given the tools and time to keep the country safe from cyber-attacks. Until then, Government departments will be vulnerable to these kind of attacks and people’s lives are put unnecessarily at risk.