NHS to spend £150m on cyber security to bolster defences after WannaCry attack

Investment comes amid warnings hackers linked to Russia and other countries targeting UK’s critical national infrastructure.

The NHS is to spend £150m to bolster its defences against the “growing threat” of cyber attacks following the chaos caused by the WannaCry virus.

Amid warnings that hackers linked to Russia and other countries have been targeting Britain’s critical national infrastructure, including power networks, a new security contract has been drawn up with Microsoft.

The Department of Health and Social Care said the package would enhance security intelligence and give individual trusts the ability to detect threats, isolate infected machines and kill malicious processes before they are able to spread.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said: “We know cyber attacks are a growing threat, so it is vital our health and care organisations have secure systems which patients trust.

“We have been building the capability of NHS systems over a number of years, but there is always more to do to future-proof our NHS against this threat.

“This new technology will ensure the NHS can use the latest and most resilient software available – something the public rightly expect.”

It comes almost a year after the global WannaCry cyber attack crippled parts of the NHS in May 2017, locking data on computers with demands for money.

At least 80 health trusts and 603 NHS organisations and GP practices were disrupted by the global ransomware attack, which caused 20,000 hospital appointments and operations to be cancelled as ambulances were diverted from some A&Es.

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