IT networks shut down at three London hospitals

A computer virus penetrated the security firewalls of the healthcare IT networks of three hospitals in London last week, forcing their shutdown for a 24-hour period.

The hospitals affected were St. Bartholomew's Hospital, the Royal London Hospital, and the London Chest Hospital, all of which are part of the Barts and The London NHS Trust hospital system.

A press release issued by the Trust stated that emergency procedures were activated to ensure that key clinical systems continued. Ambulances were diverted to neighboring hospitals and admittance to the emergency department was restricted to ambulatory patients only. Lab testing and diagnostic imaging services remained available, according to Julian Nettel, chief executive officer of the Trust.

The system was restored to normal operation on Wednesday, November 19. The virus was believed to be the Mytob worm, which spreads via e-mail and plants a backdoor Trojan on infected computers that can be used to remotely take control of the machine, according to Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, a global security firm with headquarters in Oxford, U.K., and Boston.

Related Reading

Intrusion-detection testing finds network vulnerabilities, August 11, 2008

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