The UK government has publicly said it believes North Korea may have been behind the WannaCry malware attack which ravaged the NHS earlier this year.
Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Ben Wallace, the security minister, said the government believes a North Korean hacking group was responsible for the attack.
“This attack, we believe quite strongly that this came from a foreign state,” said Wallace.
“We can be as sure as possible. I obviously can’t go into the detail of intelligence, but it is widely believed in the community and across a number of countries that North Korea had taken this role.”
The comments come after the National Audit Office (NAO) released a report, which states that hospital trusts were vulnerable to the attack because basic cybersecurity recommendations failed to be implemented.
Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, highlighted that the WannaCry cyber attack had potentially serious implications for the NHS and its ability to care for patients.
“It was a relatively unsophisticated attack and could have been prevented by the NHS following basic IT security best practice. There are more sophisticated cyber threats out there than WannaCry so the Department and the NHS need to get their act together to ensure the NHS is better protected against future attacks,” Morse concluded.
NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to every single major health body, asking boards to ensure that they have implemented all alerts issued by NHS Digital between March and May 2017 and that essential action is taken to secure local firewalls.