Feeds

NHS Toolkit takedown will inconvenience docs, not patients

Medics and sec-experts assess 3-week sicknote

High performance access to file storage

In a statement, the Department of Health explained the ministerial decision to take down the site.

There is no evidence of any security breach or loss of data. Given the importance of given the importance of preserving confidentiality of staff and patient information, it is not acceptable to take any risks. The Department of Health is working closely with the supplier to ensure that the service is restored as soon as possible and apologises for any inconvenience this may cause doctors in the meantime. It is hoped that full service can be resumed within three weeks.

The suspension of the toolkit creates chaos for thousands of doctors and their appraisers, but the implications of a successful hacking attack would be far more severe and longer lasting.

David Harley, director of malware intelligence at security firm Eset, and a former NHS IT manager for five years, explained there was higher sensitivity over the security of health service sites compared to commercial websites.

"While three weeks seems a lot of downtime for a maintenance check, it's not necessarily sinister. There was a highly visible MTAS (Medical Training Application Service) leak re junior doctor data in 2007 that caught the eye of the Information Commissioner, and a subsequent welter of other data leakage reports, from thumb drives and CDs, so there will be sensitivity in the department of health (and higher)."

NHS Connecting for Health has always been largely focused, in terms of security, on confidentiality, he explained. "I'd expect them to take a possible breach very seriously," Harley explained.

Harley added that the precautionary suspension of IT services in the NHS is rare but not without precedent. "It's not unprecedented for NHS IT services to be taken down during a security breach, even if the short term impact was significant, though the few incidents in my personal experience were all malware-related." ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.