Cyberattack Impacts Two Ambulance Services in the UK

A cyberattack on two major ambulance services in the United Kingdom has rendered their electronic patient records inaccessible. This illegal act has had an effect on the South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASFT) and the South Central Ambulance Service Trust (SCAS), two critical health care providers servicing a population of about 12 million people.

The attack appears to have originated on the servers of Swedish health-tech firm Ortivus. This is the business that provides the electronic patient record system used by ambulance services, and it was here that the cyberattack, which occurred on the evening of July 18th, was first discovered.

Impact of the Attack on Ambulance Services and Patient Care

The intrusion in the electronic patient record system has disrupted SWASFT and SCAS operations for more than a week.

According to an Ortivus statement, hackers specifically targeted users of MobiMed ePR, the electronic patient record system used by the impacted ambulance trusts.

As a result, digital medical records are no longer accessible, forcing reliance on manual systems until the problem is resolved. The good news is that no patients were directly impacted by this incident, nor were any other systems other than those hosted in the data centre.

The ambulance staff have had difficulties because they cannot access electronic patient records. Without vital medical history information such as allergies, important health episodes, and medications, the effectiveness of emergency medical intervention may be sacrificed.


Investigation into the Breach: Seeking Justice

After learning about the incident, NHS England launched an investigation with the help of law enforcement organisations to determine the culprits who were responsible and to determine the magnitude of the breach.

The NHS cybersecurity team is trying tirelessly to figure out more about the incident and establish whether any data was taken illegally. The incident has been classified as a criminal offence, and steps are being made towards holding the culprits accountable.

The targeted health-tech company, Ortivus, is also working to restore the compromised systems and recover any lost data. Their priority is to collaborate closely with their customers, especially SWASFT and SCAS, to guarantee a timely resolution.

The organisation is partnering with the authorities to contribute any further significant information that may be useful in the investigation.

Learning from Experience: The Future of Cybersecurity in Healthcare

This incident is not the first cyberattack on the healthcare sector. Just last month, another NHS health trust was the target of a hack that might have resulted in the theft of data from millions of patients.

Both incidents are likely the first of many, should we not take more cautious measures at protecting our digital data, and learning how to do so efficiently, so that we can take precautionary measures at protecting our lives as we shift more and more into a world where our reliance on technological advances grows.