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Computer Virus Attacked Three London Hospitals

The IT systems at three London hospitals were closed down on November 18, 2008 following computer virus attacks. St Bartholomew's hospital managers and the London NHS trust called an emergency state when the computer was overloaded after the virus attack, as reported by guardian on November 19, 2008.

The reports said that engineers closed down mail systems and web access in Bart's hospital in the City, the Royal London in Whitechapel, and the London chest hospital in Bethnal Green, and used back up systems to keep OT and outpatient clinics working. Ambulances were directed to other hospitals. The patient transport system used by handicaps and senior citizens to attend routine appointments was also disturbed.

Further, engineers claimed that they had controlled spreading of the virus on the night of November 17, 2008, but the systems were crashed when the staff logged on November 18, 2008.

Security analysts commented that there is no hint that this was a harmful attack, but investigators are trying to trace the origin of the virus. The bud did not target the patient record system and there was no proof that it transmitted to other trusts.

Hospitals officials have said that emergency procedures started operating to make sure important clinical systems keep working while the network access is being set up.

Further, Sophos added that the virus seemed to be Mytob worm which circulates through mail and leaves a backdoor Trojan on infected systems that can be utilized to remotely control the system.

Senior Technology Consultant of Sophos, Graham Cluley, states that undoubtedly, it is a serious issue that the private details of patients have been put at risk, and the hospitals will aim at reassuring people that security has been restored, as reports by CNETNesw on November 18, 2008.

Head of Health Emergency campaign, Geoff Martin, says that this was an unfortunate incident. It challenges several billion pounds investment for the NHS computerization for a system that has been compromised for the first time, as reported by SkyNews on November 18, 2008.

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