Damages caused by the WannaCry ransomware attack on Britain’s National Health Service back in May 2017 costed the department about £92 million - or approximately $121 million - as overall expenditures were recently calculated.
While the ransomware attack wasn’t directed towards the NHS, many hospitals under the department were affected, as 19,000 appointments had to be cancelled, and patient care was significantly delayed.
Prior to the cyberattack, Microsoft had released an update to patch an EternalBlue vulnerability to their operating systems; however, the NHS failed to apply the update after repeated warnings to implement the new software. As a result, many computers were left vulnerable to the attack, leaving systems essentially useless as files from “one third of NHS hospitals and eight percent of GP practices” were encrypted.
After 18 months from the ransomware attack, the Department of Health revealed the total damaging cost - £92 million - caused by WannaCry’s destructive nature.
The multi-million dollar estimate stems from multiple factors, including lost output from patient care and appointment cancellation (costing £19 million, or $25 million), IT and security assistance expenditures for restoration of data (£500,000, or approximately $659,000), and about £72 million (approximately $95 million) to further fix damage and implement greater security measures for operating systems.
The WannaCry ransomware attack served as a warning for the NHS, as hospitals affected set out to further strengthen and improve their cybersecurity practices. The NHS was also given a deadline to implement Windows 10 in an effort to combat future cyberattacks.
From evidence gathered by both the National Cyber Security Agency of UK and the US Department of Homeland Security, it was found that North Korea was behind the devastating and costly attack.
Cyberattacks like WannaCry act as a harsh reminder that cybersecurity defense must be taken seriously in a time where cybercriminals are ruthlessly seeking ways to create havoc upon businesses and large agencies. While updating your computer software is one way to halt malware from encrypting your files, it’s always best to back up your data nonetheless. Using our own storage and ransomware resistant solution reevert™ can help your business stay safe in the event of a ransomware strike.
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