Three U.K. hospitals were forced to shut down their networks last month after a malware outbreak infiltrated their systems. St. Bartholomew's, the Royal London Hospital, and the London Chest Hospital went offline after a Mytob worm infection got out of control. Medical staff in some cases had to revert to using pen and paper.
The malware outbreak on the hospital networks was a jolting wake-up call for how serious a malware or other attack could be for health care and other organizations -- and the patients who rely on them. One U.S. hospital was recently hit with a denial-of-service attack that knocked its critical services offline temporarily. "There have been several close calls" including that one, notes Perimeter eSecurity's Prince, who couldn't reveal details about the attack on the hospital. Prince says the hospital was able to deploy some redundant power sources to keep its operations going during the attack on its network.
But Prince says he worries that eventually, human lives could be affected by a cyberattack like that of those hospitals or attacks on national infrastructures such as utilities. "It will happen at some point," he says.
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