NHS Dumfries and Galloway data stolen in cyber attack published on dark web | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Image source, NHS Dumfries and Galloway

A ransomware group has carried out its threat to NHS Dumfries and Galloway and released a “large volume” of patients’ data on the dark web.

A small amount of details were released in March as “proof” that the cyber criminals had accessed confidential information, with a warning that more would be published if a payment was not made to stop it.

The new chief executive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway health board, Julie White, called the release an “utterly abhorrent criminal act”.

She said work was now beginning to with other national agencies including the Scottish government, police and National Cyber Security Centre to assess what has been published.

“We should not be surprised at this outcome, as this is in line with the way these criminal groups operate,” Ms White said.

“NHS Dumfries and Galloway is conscious that this may cause increased anxiety and concern for patients and staff, with a telephone helpline sharing the information hosted at our website.

“Data accessed by the cyber criminals has now been published onto the dark web – which is not readily accessible to most people.

“Recognising that this is a live criminal matter, we continue to follow the very clear guidance being provided to us by national law enforcement agencies.”

A ‘worrying development’

South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth described the release of data as a “worrying development”.

The Labour MSP told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “There is no doubt it will cause a great deal of anxiety for patients and staff of NHS Dumfries and Galloway.”

He added hackers had been able to access “a very substantial amount of data”, including contact details for both staff and patients.

Mr Smyth said: “It is important the NHS try to do what they did when the initial data was released – that is contact the individuals affected.

“But if they can’t do that because the data is so substantial it is very important the NHS make that clear at an early stage, and at the very least contact the most vulnerable people whose data may have been released onto the dark web.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police Scotland inquiries are continuing into a cyber attack on NHS Dumfries and Galloway.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is aware of a further publication of data on the internet, linked to the recent cyber attack on NHS Dumfries and Galloway.

“It is important to note that the incident remains contained to NHS Dumfries and Galloway and there have been no further incidents across NHS Scotland as a whole.

“The Scottish Government is working with the health board, Police Scotland and other agencies including the National Crime Agency and National Cyber Security Centre to assess the level of this breach and the possible implications for individuals concerned.

“The Scottish Government is continuing to provide support to NHS Dumfries and Galloway as they deal with this ongoing situation. This remains an on-going police investigation.”

A dedicated telephone helpline is now open to the public from 09:00 until 18:00 Monday to Friday and 09:00 until 13:00 on Saturdays.

The health board urged the public to be alert for any attempts to access their work and personal 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.

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