Cyberattack causes major disruption to UK medical helpline ‘120’

Cyberattack causes major disruption to UK medical helpline '120'

Due to the impact of the cyber attack, the 111 helpline of the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom (Note: including routine help and first aid, some similar to my country’s 120 hotline) experienced major and continuous interruptions. Data disaster recovery has been measured after the attack.

The cyber attack hit Advanced, the NHS’s local hosting provider. According to information on the status page, about 85% of the 111 emergency hotline services are using the Adastra customer patient management solution provided by Advanced. The attack caused a significant disruption to the Adastra solution, along with several other services provided by Advanced.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said: “The local computer system used to refer 111 helpline patients to emergency GPs has recently suffered a major failure.”

“The system primarily helps local health boards to coordinate services for patients. The ongoing disruption has had a severe and far-reaching impact, covering the four regions of the United Kingdom: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Health Minister Steve Barclay said he was being regularly briefed on incidents on NHS 111 services and had contingency plans in place in affected areas to minimise the impact.

Officials from the NHS have advised people to use the online website to access the 111 help call service temporarily until the incident is resolved.

Advanced exec confirms cyber attack

Currently, the Advanced website status page will pop up a form that is only for customers and employees to log in, and cannot be publicly accessed outside. But the company’s chief operating officer, Simon Short, has confirmed that the incident stemmed from a cyberattack detected on Thursday morning.

“We have identified a security issue that has caused service disruptions,” Short said in a statement to the BBC.

“It can be determined that the incident is related to a cyber attack. As a precautionary measure, we immediately quarantined all medical and nursing IT environments.”

“Our incident response team stepped in early and contained the problem to a small number of servers, affecting only 2 percent of the overall healthcare infrastructure.”

Although no details were provided about the nature of the cyber attack, according to Short’s description, it was likely a ransomware or data extortion attack.

Advanced provides business software to more than 22,000 global customers in a variety of industries, including healthcare, education, and nonprofit organizations.

The service provider’s clients include the NHS, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and London City Airport, among others.

Foreign media BleepingComputer contacted an Advanced spokesman for more details, but the other party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Carl Herman is an editor at DataFileHost enjoys writing about the latest Tech trends around the globe.