London Hospitals Face Major Disruptions After Cyberattack

By John Mercury June 6, 2024

Several major hospitals in London have been crippled by a cyberattack, Britain’s National Health Service said, causing surgical procedures to be canceled, disrupting blood transfusions and forcing patients to be diverted.

A ransomware cyberattack on Synnovis, an organization that manages blood transfusions and other services, on Monday had significantly disrupted the delivery of services at King’s College and Guy’s and St. Thomas’ hospital trusts, which run several major hospitals. The attack has also caused disruptions to primary care offices in southeast London.

“Unfortunately, some operations and procedures, which rely more heavily on pathology services, have been postponed, and blood testing is being prioritized for the most urgent cases, meaning patients have had phlebotomy appointments canceled,” the health service said on Wednesday. Emergency services were open as usual, the statement added.

Mark Dollar, the chief executive of Synnovis, said on Tuesday that the company was working to understand the impact of the attack on its pathology services and to minimize disruption. “It is still early days and we are trying to understand exactly what has happened,” he said in a statement.

Ciaran Martin, a former head of British cybersecurity, told BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday that a Russian cybercriminal group known as Qilin was most likely behind the attack.

“It’s the more serious type of ransomware, where the system just doesn’t work,” Mr. Martin said. “If you’re working in health care in this trust, you’re just not getting those results, so it’s actually seriously disruptive.”


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