Make sure IT systems are up-to-date

Pharmacy contractors have been advised to make sure that IT systems and security are up-to-date, following a worldwide ransomware attack.

Ensure you are running up-to-date anti-virus software and back-up your data in multiple locations, including offline, NHS Digital has advised.

Pharmacy contractors should contact their system supplier to check that their antivirus software is up to date, said the National Pharmacy Association, and reminded the pharmacy team to be wary of unrecognised emails and not to click or open suspicious links or attachments – even if from known recipients.

Pharmacies can sign up to the CareCERT system, which alerts those working in health and care about any future threats and informs about good practice for cyber security.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) offers 10 Steps to Cyber Security advice for organisations, which includes ensuring incident management, risk management, network security and having clear security policies for the use of removable media, such as memory sticks.

NCSC suggests that businesses and home users take steps to protect themselves by running a Windows Update, making sure antivirus protection is up to date and run a scan, and backing up important data, as “you can’t be held to ransom if you’ve got the data somewhere else”.

It is possible that a ransomware attack of this type and on a similar scale could be experienced again, warned the body.

“We would like to reassure the public that resources from the Government, law enforcement and public and private sector organisation are working together to manage further disruption from the current attack and to increase protection against any further attacks in the coming days,” said NCSC.

 

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