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NHS attacked with a massive 8,000 PC worms

Over 8,000 worms that infected computer systems of National Health Service (NHS) in U.K during the past financial year (April 2008-March 2009) resulted in problems that related to patient data, hospital documents suggest.

Consequently, it is feared that patients' private information might have been in danger of identity theft, as the worms damaging the PCs are also hackers' instruments to capture personal information.

Furthermore, the worms forced to reschedule the appointments without advance notice to patients, led to leakage of various examination results, and prevented the staff at NHS hospitals from using their computers over many days.

Suggest reports that schedules for nearly 51 radio therapy sittings and appointments had to be postponed at Scotland's Beatson Cancer Center without any advance notice, while many patients who arrived to take crucial treatment had to go away untreated, both because of the virus incident.

Meanwhile, at the London Chest Hospital and the Royal London, the incident affected services, including taking X-rays, performing blood tests as well as complying with patient administration. Other entities affected with the infections include trusts like Isle of Wight, Grampian, Basingstoke & North Hampshire, Poole, Newcastle, Leeds Teaching Hospitals and Bradford Teaching Hospitals.

Notably, on November 18, 2008, a PC virus named Mytob resulted in immense chaos at 3 important hospitals in London when it proliferated in such a rapid speed that it overwhelmed all PC networks.

Some more prominent incidents are as well known of the recent months. In March, 2009, Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS trust in Scotland was hit with an especially powerful computer worm, the Conficker that barred staff from using their PCs for a full 2-days period.

Say the security researchers that it wouldn't have been a problem for the trusts to evade the incident had they installed easily obtainable security patches on their networks.

Meanwhile, several NHS trusts officially admitted of not having proper anti-virus systems or the same turned off that enabled the virus attacks to take place. For e.g. in Sheffield (U.K), where a computer in an operation room had its AV turned off, as many as 800 computers had been infected.

Related article: NZ Researcher Uncovers Hacking Techniques Against Vista

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