IT attack on England’s largest NHS trust revealed as Trojan malware

An attack on the IT systems at Barts Health Trust last week has been blamed on Trojan malware, not ransomware as initial reports suggested.

St Bartholomew’s Hospital is one of the five covered by Barts Health Trust – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, Maria Giulia Tolotti, CC BY-SA 3.0

The attack, which took place on 13 January, forced the trust to take a number of its computer systems offline as a precaution.

The trust said that its core clinical system Cerner Millennium was now back up and running, and that radiology and imagining from X-rays and scans continue to be used.

It added that, although its computerised pathology results service was also being used again, it may take “a day or so” to deal with the backlog that built up while requests had to be processed manually.

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Initial reports at the time of the incident suggested that it had been caused by a ransomware attack – which are becoming more prevalent in the healthcare sector – but the trust said today that it had been caused by Trojan malware.

Barts said: “The particular virus has never been seen before and, whilst it had the potential to do significant damage to computer network files, our measures to contain the virus were successful.”

The trust said it had quarantined the virus as soon as it was identified, adding: “No patient data was affected, there was no unauthorised access to medical records, and our anti-virus protection has now been updated to prevent any recurrence.”

Barts Health Trust is the largest NHS trust in England, serving 2.5 million people from five hospitals across East London – Mile End Hospital, Newham University Hospital, the Royal London Hospital, St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Whipps Cross University Hospital.


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