CYBER ATTACK: 'Be patient' with NHS staff

People are being advised to use the NHS wisely.
People are being advised to use the NHS wisely.
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Residents are being urged to 'be patient' with NHS staff - after an 'unprecedented' cyber attack on Friday.

The ransomware hack struck almost 100 organisations - including the NHS - across the world.

Dr Anne Rainsberry, NHS incident director, said: "The NHS has continued to treat patients throughout the weekend.

"If you have a hospital appointment, you should still attend unless you are contacted and told not to.

"We've also been offering advice and assistance to GP surgeries, who will open as usual tomorrow. Again, if you have an appointment, you should still attend unless contacted and told not to.

"People should continue to use the NHS wisely and remember that they can seek help and advice from a range of other sources, such as pharmacies and NHS 111.

"Bearing in mind the impact of the global cyber attack, I would urge people to be patient with staff."

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According to the East Midlands chamber of commerce, cyber attacks and data breaches are two of the greatest concerns for modern businesses.

Andy Watterson, Businesswatch manager and cyber crime lead at the East Midlands chamber of commerce, said: "Cyber crime is a rapidly-growing phenomenon of modern business and one that is very hard to stay one step ahead of.

"The potential for any organisation or individual to fall victim to increasingly clever cyber criminals gets bigger every day, corresponding exactly with the dependence on computers.

"But the threat is not just one of disruption, it's also the damage that can be done to corporate reputation and the huge financial penalties companies will face from next year when the European Union General Data Protection Regulations come into force."

Raising awareness of cyber threats plays a critical part in preventing them, Andy said, adding: "Companies are used to considering compliance, legal, fire and flood risks but have still not grasped the cyber risk.

"Staff working on computers are both the weakest link when it comes to cyber attacks and the last line of defence.

"If staff recognise the risks, ie, spotting and not opening suspicious emails, then the threat to their employer can be dramatically reduced, so training is crucial to corporate security."