NHS switches to Windows 10 to beat the next WannaCry-style cyber-attack

NHS

The government has announced that the NHS will be upgrading its PCs to Windows 10, and that £150 million will be spent in the next three years to beef up NHS cybersecurity in general.

In a press statement, the Department of Health and Social Care stressed that all health and care organisations will be using Windows 10 with ‘up-to-date security settings’ to better defend against major cyber-attacks like WannaCry, which hit the NHS hard a year ago.

As well as the change in operating system, the plan is to set up a new digital security operations centre to respond to security incidents more swiftly, and allow threats to be detected and isolated before they spread.

Trusty toolkit

Other measures include a data security toolkit requiring health and care organisations to meet 10 security standards, plus £21 million spent on upgrading firewalls and network infrastructure at major trauma centre hospitals and ambulance trusts, alongside £39 million to be funnelled to NHS trusts to help address security weaknesses in infrastructure.

A new text messaging alert system will also be set up that will allow trusts to maintain access to accurate information should internet services go down.

Jeremy Hunt, Health and Social Care Secretary, commented: “We know cyber-attacks are a growing threat, so it is vital our health and care organisations have secure systems which patients trust.

“We have been building the capability of NHS systems over a number of years, but there is always more to do to future-proof our NHS against this threat. This new technology will ensure the NHS can use the latest and most resilient software available – something the public rightly expect.”