Security minister says North Korea is to blame for NHS cyber attack

 
Caitlin Morrison
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The NHS' IT system was hacked in May (Source: Getty)

North Korea was to blame for a cyber attack on the NHS earlier this year, the UK security minister has said.

"This attack, we believe quite strongly that it came from a foreign state. North Korea was the state that we believe was involved this worldwide attack," Ben Wallace MP told the BBC's Today programme.

The communist state may have been attempting to use the WannaCry attack to access foreign funds, the minister added.

The hack took place in May, and saw hospitals across the UK forced to turn patients away as they grappled with computing issues. The government said at the time there was no evidence that any patient health data was stolen in the attack using ransomware, a type of software which hijacks files until the company or individual pays a ransom.

A government report released today said the NHS was at fault and the attack could have been prevented. According to the National Audit Office (NAO), health trusts were vulnerable to the hack because cyber-security recommendations were not followed.

"The WannaCry cyber attack had potentially serious implications for the NHS and its ability to provide care to patients," said NAO chief Amyas Morse.

"It was a relatively unsophisticated attack and could have been prevented by the NHS following basic IT security best practice. There are more sophisticated cyber threats out there than WannaCry so the department and the NHS need to get their act together to ensure the NHS is better protected against future attacks."

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