National Health Service hack leads to publication of huge amount of sensitive information

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A significant cyberattack has resulted in the publication of sensitive patient data stolen from Synnovis, a blood testing company serving multiple NHS trusts in London. The hacker group, Qilin, released nearly 400GB of private information on their darknet site after failing to extort money from Synnovis.

The cyberattack has caused substantial disruption, affecting more than 3,000 hospital and GP appointments and operations. Among those impacted is Dylan Kjorstad, a teenager undergoing cancer treatment, whose operation to remove a tumor was delayed.

The published data includes patient names, dates of birth, NHS numbers, and descriptions of blood tests. It’s unclear if the actual test results are part of the leaked information.

The hackers also released business account spreadsheets detailing financial arrangements between hospitals, GP services, and Synnovis.

While aware of the publication, NHS England cannot fully verify the authenticity of the shared data. They are working with Synnovis and the National Cyber Security Centre to assess the situation. The company is conducting a thorough analysis of the leaked data and has expressed deep concern over the incident.

Ciaran Martin, former head of the National Cyber Security Centre and now a professor at Oxford University, described the attack as “one of the most significant and harmful cyber attacks ever in the UK.” He noted that it could take several months to restore the affected systems.

The attack on Synnovis follows a growing trend of cybercriminals targeting healthcare organizations. Brett Callow from Emsisoft pointed out that healthcare is a lucrative target for hackers, especially following high-profile ransom payments like the $22 million paid by United Health Group earlier this year.

Qilin, believed to be based in Russia, claimed the attack was a form of punishment against the UK for not aiding in an unspecified war. However, Mr. Martin dismissed this as “absolute garbage,” stating that the hackers’ motivations were purely financial.

 

 

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