Hackers bombarding the NHS with 11m+ attacks

The NHS has been hit with over 11.3 million email-based cyber-attacks over the past three years, illustrating a major threat to healthcare systems in the UK, according to new data from NHS Digital. The news comes as cyber experts warm of the increasing risk posed to NHS patients, with hackers attempting to breach systems to steal data.

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 12 July 2019 07:35


The National Health Service (NHS) is has been bombarded with 11m email attacks in the last three years, according to official data from NHS Digital. Official records show that the NHSmail system blocked 11,352,000 email attacks.

The highest rated attacks were listed as IP or domain reputation attacks (more than six million), followed by spam (3.6 million). A total of 852,000 incidents were recorded as anti-virus.

Two years ago, the NHS was one of the biggest victims of the notorious WannaCry ransomware attack, which ended up costing it more than £45 million. 

Andy Heather, European VP at Centrify said, “It’s clear that hackers view the NHS as a top target with growing volumes of email attacks deliberately designed to fool doctors, nurses and other health service workers into handing over confidential data.”

Heather continued, “Increasingly we’re seeing cyber-criminals gaining access to private information like patient records using legitimate log-in details which have been stolen or sold online. All too often this means that malicious activity remains undetected before it’s too late, so it’s vital that hospitals adopt a zero-trust approach to all user activity, ensuring every employee is verified and they are who they say they are.”

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