Cyber attack on Stevenage's Lister Hospital part of an assault on computer systems across the globe
PUBLISHED: 18:51 12 May 2017 | UPDATED: 22:17 12 May 2017
The cyber attack on Stevenage's Lister Hospital this afternoon appears to have been part of an orchestrated global attack on computer systems at hospitals, universities, businesses and other organisations.
The attackers appear to have launched a piece of malware on computers that locks them up and demands a payment in Bitcoin.
There have been reports of infections in the UK, US, China, Russia, Spain, Italy, Vietnam, Taiwan and others.
Security researchers are linking the incidents together.
Patient data at GP surgeries and at many hospitals has been scrambled.
NHS sources have confirmed that a block for the malware can be quickly installed, but there is no indication yet of how long it will take to fix systems already affected.
People are being turned away from A&E at many hospitals including the Lister in Stevenage and sent to unaffected clinics.
The East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs the Coreys Mill Lane hospital, is encouraging patients not to go to A&E, but in an emergency to call 999 and for non urgent care to call NHS 111.
Conservative parliamentary candidate Stephen McPartland said: “This is a disgusting attack by cowards on hardworking staff and patients in need of treatment.
“It is designed solely to disrupt and terrorise people indiscriminately as it has hit a number of countries. The Lister is one of the most modern and advanced facilities in the UK, so will be vulnerable to such activity. However, the staff are doing a fantastic job to take pre-emptive action and ensure patients get the help they need.”
Councillor Sharon Taylor, Stevenage Borough Council leader and Labour Party parliamentary candidate, told this paper she was appalled by the attack.
“How unbelievably sick that people would put lives at risk in this way,” she said.
“Anybody that could commit such a disgusting, shocking act is just shameful.”
She said she felt sympathy for all those who work in the NHS who have put put under extra pressure by the attack and called for a full review of computer systems at hospitals so this cannot happen again.
NHS Digital is currently investigating the incident.