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Avoiding another cyberattack will take human and technical solutions, say experts

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2464 (Published 19 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2464
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

Protecting against a cyberattack of the sort that paralysed at least 47 NHS trusts on 12 May123 will not be simple, experts have warned. Vulnerability is likely to increase rather than diminish as more and more IT systems are linked and patients’ access to them is made easier.

Bryan Hurcombe, of the accountancy and consulting company Deloitte, told a Westminster Forum meeting in London on 18 May that the problem was both human and technical. “Many NHS organisations have legacy IT systems that were never designed with cyber-risks in mind,” he said. “It’s very hard to get rid of these systems—they’re engrained in the DNA of organisations. It’s not just a case of lifting and shifting them.

“Today they would be built to be ‘secure by design,’ but that’s very challenging to do. Hundreds of articles have appeared asking, ‘Why haven’t we …

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