Health Board Hit By Malware Attack Blames New Ransomware Variant

29 August 2017, 06:37

nhs lanarkshire

A health board which was forced to cancel appointments and procedures after its IT systems were hit by a computer virus has said ransomware was behind the attack.

NHS Lanarkshire said the virus was a new version of malicious software called Bitpaymer which infected its computer network on Friday.

The health board said it "took immediate action" to prevent the spread of the software which can be triggered by anyone clicking on a infected web link.

Staff worked throughout the weekend to secure and reinstate IT systems across its estate which includes Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride, Monklands Hospital in Airdrie and Wishaw General Hospital.

Chief executive Calum Campbell said: "We quickly identified the source of the malware and investigations are ongoing as to how this was able to infiltrate our network.

"Our staff have worked hard to minimise the impact on patients and our contingency plans have ensured we have been able to continue to deliver services while the IT issues were resolved.

"A small number of systems were affected with the majority restored over the weekend and the remainder on Monday.

"Unfortunately a small number of procedures and appointments were cancelled as a result of the incident. I would like to apologise to anyone who has been affected by this disruption. We immediately started work to reappoint patients to the earliest possible appointments."

"The malware was identified as a new variant of Bitpaymer. We are investigating how it infiltrated our network with our IT security providers.

"Our security software and systems were up to date with the latest signature files, but as this was a new malware variant the latest security software was unable to detect it.

"Following analysis of the malware our security providers issued an updated signature so that this variant can now be detected and blocked."