Advanced, which provides digital services like patient check-in and NHS 111, says it was first alerted to the hack at 7:00 a.m. on 4 August—and immediately took steps to contain the hackers. The firm is now working to restore services.
The Birmingham-based company says it does not know if any data has been stolen as a result of the attack, but refuses to say whether it is negotiating with hackers or paying a ransom for their release.
This is not the first ransomware attack to hit the NHS. In May 2017, the hospital system was infected with WannaCry ransomware, disrupting more than 80 hospitals and costing the government an estimated $90 million. The attack led to more than 19,000 appointments being cancelled over a one-week period.
No ransomware group has come forward to claim the attack, but the Conti ransomware gang previously launched a devastating attack on the Irish healthcare system in May 2021, causing weeks of disruption at the country’s hospitals.
While it is hard to trace where the gangs are based, analysis suggests that 74% of all money made through ransomware attacks in 2021 went to Russia-linked hackers.