UK hospitals shut down by malware, advise patients to go somewhere else for the duration


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/11/03/uk-hospitals-shut-down-by-malw.html


#2

All of the functions of a hospital can be performed without a computer, in an emergency. Maybe it’s time to develop a protocol.


#3

Targeting hospitals, whether with bombs or sabotage, is the lowest of the low.


#4

Are the attackers attacking the hospitals though? I would have thought this is ransomeware that’s exploiting a vulnerability those hospitals just happen to have (eg they’re running WinXP machines connected to their LAN or something).

That’s the thing about cyber attacks - the attackers don’t need to actively attack anything. They just need to lay traps.


#5

Anti-virus/malware has always been ineffective. Sure it’ll deal with most weak strains but the clever viruses will always get through. Surely there’s got to be a way to make a machine bullet proof.

What about Deep Freeze? I love the concept but have never tested it. Anyone know if that concept is effective?


#6

True, but if the only guaranteed complete and up-to-date version of a patient’s note is on an inaccessible computer, I assume that emergency would have to be pretty severe for, say, surgery on that patient to go ahead.


#7

Given that in modern hospitals pretty much all diagnostic equipment is digitalised and interconnected–the implication is that you are flying without imaging or blood tests or any meaningful insight into the condition of the patient you’re cutting open.

Doubt many Doctors willing to do the jump.


#8

Good luck trying to run an MRI or CT scanner without a computer.


#9

Or just have a no-Windows policy. Honestly, although from time to time proof-of-concept examples of Mac and Linux malware make the news, never have they become a serious problem for users. The whole thing is a Windows problem. Don’t use it, problem sorted.


#10

…I mean, yes, the UK government remain assholes, obviously. But NHS IT takes security very seriously (far more so than most public-sector organisations), and if anything this demonstrates that. Is the point meant to be that if Theresa May weren’t such a jerk, malware wouldn’t exist in the first place?

Seems tenuous.


#11

Medicare, the health care program so beloved of progressives, has been forcing (through a program of large sticks and small carrots) both hospitals and doctors offices to computerize everything they do, whether this computerization is necessary for patient care or not, for almost the last decade.

The risks to the patient of bad healthcare IT have probably been given at least ten or fifteen minutes’ thought, however, so maybe it’ll come right in the end.

Search “Meaningful Use” for the story.


#12

Ask a hundred doctors who have practiced using both paper charts and the best current healthcare IT whether they would go back to paper.

I bet you get sixty. Maybe more.


#13

No doubt if diagnostic results are on paper. but as long results are locked into a computer–your paper is blank and you are flying blind in an emergency.


#14

Any evidence for this statement. Experience proves otherwise.

Really hope so, as the data processed by the NHS slightly more precious than the data processed e.g. those organising our rubbish collection.


#15

Unfortunately for large and complex pieces of equipment that come with a computer with the software required to run them, you don’t have a choice. Sometimes you can’t even update the OS.


#16

Just hire techs who are strong in the Force.


#17

They aren’t getting malware on their Windows embedded devices either.


#18

Are you a parody of a far right conservative? Do you believe “moving away from paper” is some sort of Lub’rul conspiracy?


#19

Why, yes!!! Yes, I am. I post here while listening to Limbaugh in one ear and Glenn Beck in the other. I have “Make America Great Again” tattooed on the tip of my nose. I refused to vote for David Duke because he is too moderate. And few people know this, but Johnny Carson’s Floyd R. Turbo character was modeled on me.

But that has nothing to do with the fact that a very large number of doctors think that even the very best of today’s health IT systems suck donkey dicks.


#20

Ah! But they DO attack things. They don’t merely threaten you, they actively encrypt your data and then demand ransom. That’s a lot more than a mere trap. It is not stated, but Krebs seemed to think that this was a form of ransomware, even tho not a lot of info was made public.