Cyber attacks and the governor role

This briefing provides an explaination of what Ransomware is and what happens when cyber criminals gain control of a computer system. It also outlines the governor role, what governors can do to challenge their board to be prepared to give a robust and honest account of the ways systems, processes and information are being protected.

Whilst the NHS was not particularly targeted in the recent incident it led to severe disruption of services for several days with networks and email shut down as a precaution.

The "WannaCry" ransomware attack exploited a known vulnerability in out of date Windows operating systems discovered by the National Security Agency and leaked by hackers, to spread rapidly across networks locking away files. It affected more than 200,000 organisations in 150 countries.

In the UK, the major assault hit 47 NHS trusts, forcing them to shut down their entire IT systems, operations being cancelled and patients turned away from A&E. Seven trusts experienced “severe” difficulties as a result of the attack. The attack also affected leading edge companies including FedEx, Telefonica, Nissan and Deutsche Bahn.

Read the full report.

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