NHS patients in Dumfries and Galloway urged to look out for cyber extortion after data breach

The health board representing the south western region of Scotland was last month hit by a ransomware attack and, after some confidential patient info was released, more publications could follow

NHS Dumfries and Galloway have warned patients that more personal information stolen by cybercriminals could be leaked. 

A cyberattack resulted in a large amount of confidential data being taken from the health board last month. Two weeks after the breach took place, cybercrime group INC Ransom posted a message on a dark web blog where they threatened to release three terabytes of stolen data and published a ‘proof pack’ of confidential patient information on a select group of patients.

This allegedly includes hospital reports, emails, clinical reports, and document scans. 

NHS Dumfries and Galloway has warned that more details could be published following the “targeted and sustained” attack. 

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Although it confirmed in a statement last month that its systems were running normally again, the board’s chief executive Julie Whit urged people to remain on their guard after admitting there is a “risk of publication for further data”. 

White, who took on the CEO role at the start of this month, said: “We all must remain highly vigilant in the wake of what was a targeted and sustained cyberattack, and we are aware there is a risk of publication of further data. Everyone is advised to be alert for any attempts to access their data, or for approaches by anyone claiming to be in possession of either their personal data or NHS data – whether this approach comes by email, telephone, social media or some other means. In all instances, people are advised to take down details about the approach and contact Police Scotland by phoning 101.” 

Police Scotland have said enquiries into the incident are ongoing.

A version of this story originally appeared on PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood

Ruaraidh Gilmour

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