Tonight it has been revealed that NHS Scotland has been left in a sorry state thanks to a Ransom Ware attack. Six health boards have been affected (as has health boards in England). For those unaware, Ransom Ware involves locking off a PC with access only returning if a ransom is paid. If it isn’t paid within the time frame then the data deleted.

The issue here though is that there has to be a leak in the system for this type of attack to occur. This can range from there being a security flaw in the firewall, Windows not being updated or a combination of both. Questions need to be asked as to why these flaws have never been identified before, and why Windows has not been updated. Worryingly staff had not been notified about this error via the internal email system. Instead, they have been left to hear about it from the press.

This is a big red flag against the SNP since they have made sure that as soon as this problem arose, they should have passed it down to the Chief Executives of each health board. NHS staff are bombarded with Core Briefs about trivial matters, but this was not the case this time. It would make sense to spread the word so that only PCs which are essential are left on to limit the spread.

 

In the NHS Scotland hospitals, the systems are on an setup known as Integrated Desktop Environment. What this means is that apart from the Operating System, everything else is held within a server away from the actual hard drive on a PC. In that respect it would be foolish for the NHS to pay for the release of these PCs, especially since they can be easily reinstalled. There is no guarantee that once payment has been made that the PC will be unlocked. You would also like to think that there are multiple backups of servers via the method of redundancy so that it can be restored from the server if need be.

This is worrying though that the SNP and Shona Robinson have allowed this to happen. Yes, it has happened in England but the NHS is devolved in Scotland. This error falls on the part of the Health Secretary, especially when the SNP have been holding the strings for so long now. When they can’t get this right, how can we be expected to send more of them back to Westminster next month?