UK healthcare system under cyber threat – government releases £500k funding initiative

Small and medium-sized healthcare businesses, namely medical suppliers and primary care providers, are called to apply for a portion of the £500,000 government-funded initiative which will cover all consultancy and certification costs.

This comes after the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) detected an increase in cyber threats to the UK health sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Cyber crime groups are targeting pharmaceutical companies and research organisations in efforts to steal sensitive intelligence, intellectual property and personal information.

Participants of the initiative are entitled to receive guidance and support in order to receive accreditation from the government’s Cyber Essential’s certification. Training is included to ensure all phones, tablets, laptops, or computers are up-to-date with the necessary firewall usage and user access controls to manage employee’s access to services.

The programme allows firms the option to apply for support from a cyber expert who will analyse the organisation and its potential cybersecurity risks, and assist with the development and implementation of a business continuity plan.

The government has urged all businesses who have not signed up for the Cyber Essentials programme yet to do so to ensure proper security protections are in place.

According to Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020, 46% of all businesses experienced a cyber breach or attack over the last 12 months. A third of all businesses (32%) suffered at least one breach a week.

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