Supply Chain Attack Hits NHS Ambulance Trusts

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A cyber-attack on an NHS supplier has left two ambulance trusts serving millions of people without access to electronic patient records, it has emerged.

Swedish healthcare IT firm Ortivus said in a statement that an attack on July 18 left affected UK customers using its hosted datacenter.

“The electronic patient records are currently unavailable and are until further notice handled using manual systems. No patients have been directly affected. No other systems have been attacked and no customers outside of those in the hosted datacenter have been affected,” it explained.

“Ortivus is currently working in close collaboration with the affected customers to restore the systems and recover data. The affected customers are the ones using MobiMed ePR, electronic patient record systems in a hosted environment.”

Read more on NHS woes: #InfosecurityEurope: Asset Visibility Gaps Jeopardize Security Compliance in NHS Trusts, Report Finds

The BBC claimed that South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and South Western Ambulance Service (SWASFT) are both affected by the incident.

Neither trust has released any information publicly about the incidents.

Although Ortivus claimed no patients have been directly affected, if ambulances turn up without the ability to access patient records, it’s likely that the standard of care will suffer.

The two trusts are said to serve around 12 million people in the south of England.

It’s unclear what type of security incident Ortivus suffered, although ransomware would be an obvious choice.

“The healthcare industry is one of the few sectors where cyber-attacks can fatally impact human life, therefore cyber-criminals know hitting patient services is the most effective way to cause disruption and for victims to comply with their demands,” argued Claroty CRO, Simon Chassar.

The NHS and its large ecosystem of suppliers are a popular target for attackers. Last year, managed service provider Advanced, which runs the NHS 111 helpline, suffered a major breach which disrupted patient referrals, appointment bookings and ambulance dispatches.

Editorial image credit: 1000 Words /

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