As hackers exploit Coronavirus crisis, Thales is supporting NHS Wales

As hackers exploit Coronavirus crisis, Thales is supporting NHS Wales to ensure their cyber systems stay healthy

Our day to day lives have drastically changed this year and having to social distance has made being able to connect online safely and securely more important than ever.

Every sector has had to adapt its ways of working, from the food service industry to heavy manufacturing, to keep employees, their families and customers safe. This applies equally to the tech sector and the cybersecurity industry, which has looked to step up as cyber criminals have attempted to take advantage of the current situation.

There are clear links to the development of the virus and cyberattacks, as they have geographically followed a similar path. COVID-19 related cyberattacks first appeared in Asia, then in Eastern Europe, and most recently in Western Europe.

Hackers across the globe have sought to prey upon public fear around the virus, as those affected seek to learn more and build a sense of individual control. As with all facets of cybersecurity, a huge part of the work we need to be doing is ensuring that institutions, organisations and individuals are not only aware of the threats they might face, but also equipped with the understanding of how to keep themselves safe.

The need to be cyber threat aware and secure is no more important than in the health sector. We all know the immense pressure that health and social care workers are facing across the globe, at all levels from front line responders to those who are ensuring that PPE gets to the right place at the right time. When people are working at the edge of capacity in this highly pressurised time, tech firms should be looking to provide any extra support they can to make any aspect of their jobs easier.

According to the Thales CTI team, the biggest present threat to hospitals is ransomware attacks. If a ransomware hits a hospital, it can paralyse its systems, which can have serious implications for patient care. The critical situation leads to victims being more willing to pay the ransom, a fact that cyber-criminals take advantage of.

That’s why Thales is currently helping hospitals and the healthcare sector by giving a free access to an OpenCTI platform fed by the Thales Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) team, including with NHS Wales. 

The new agreement with Thales will enable the NHS Wales Informatics Services team to protect vital systems from a surge in cyber-attacks by accessing Thales’s technical threat analysis service, a global centre of knowledge about the latest and emerging threats.  Thales will be providing the service to NHS Wales free of charge.

Although this is only a small part of the effort to get the UK through this crisis, these small things add up and by taking away worries over the health of their systems, health services can rightly focus on the health of their patients.

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