Bitdefender makes MDR services free to NHS bodies hit by Qilin

Bitdefender makes MDR services free to NHS bodies hit by Qilin

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Bitdefender offers NHS bodies affected by a major cyber incident free access to its product suite, as the health service continues to deal with the impact of the Qilin ransomware attack on partner Synnovis

Alex Scroxton

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Published: 07 Jun 2024 14:26

Threat prevention, detection and incident response specialist Bitdefender is to make its managed detection and response (MDR) service free to NHS organisations across South London that are currently dealing with the fall-out from a suspected Qilin ransomware attack on pathology lab services partner Synnovis.

The cyber attack, which came to light earlier this week, forced Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College NHS Foundation Trust to cancel clinical procedures and divert patients elsewhere due to Synnovis’ inability to provide diagnostics and testing services, with blood transfusions particularly affected.

At the same time, the attack also continues to impact other NHS services in several London boroughs, including GP surgeries that also use Synnovis’ services.

“The devastating attacks on London’s hospitals demonstrate that the cyber criminals responsible have little regard for how their actions disrupt society or respect for life by capitalising on the urgency to help patients – many in dire need of care,” said Bitdefender co-founder and CEO Florin Talpes.

“By offering Bitdefender’s support through our cyber security solutions, we wish to help enhance the security posture, resources, and cyber resilience capabilities of London’s hospitals,” said Talpes.

The offer comprises six months of free access to 24/7 threat monitoring through Bitdefender MDR, and access to GravityZone, its unified security and risk analytics platform, which includes extended detection and response (XDR) options that enhance users’ visibility into threats, the speed with which they can respond to problems, and their operational efficiency, by natively correlating data and organising it into human-readable incidents.

Bucharest, Romania-based Bitdefender – which previously supported Romanian hospitals after a February 2024 ransomware incident that hit more than 100 hospitals across the country – said it aimed to lower the risk of follow-on attacks for NHS bodies that are trying to focus on mitigating the impact of the Synnovis incident, and offer those not yet affected access to improved defences.

Chris Streather, medical director for NHS England London, said NHS England’s cyber incident response team was working round the clock to support Synnovis and provide emergency guidance, while clinical staff are also going flat-out to minimise the extensive disruption that the Russian Qilin gang – which is able to operate with impunity under the ‘protection’ of the Putin regime in Moscow – has caused to patient care.

“Pathology services at the impacted sites are available – albeit at a reduced capacity – with the most urgent cases being prioritised. Unfortunately, some non-urgent operations and procedures including transplants continue to be postponed, while nearly all non-urgent blood tests have been postponed in primary care services in South East London,” said Streather,.

“We are sorry to all those who have been impacted and staff will work hard to re-arrange appointments and treatments as quickly as possible.”

Urgent and emergency services, and maternity departments, remain available as usual in the capital. In a genuine emergency, people should still call 999, or access the NHS 111 service through the NHS app, online, or by calling 111 from any phone.

If you have an upcoming appointment at an affected bodies, if you do not hear otherwise from the provider, you should attend as usual. This includes outpatient and community services, and cervical screening, which are running as normal.

NHS England said the full extent of the attack, as well as the impact on patient data if any, is not yet known, but once this has been established it will be communicated in line with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) regulations.

NHS England has deployed a cyber incident response team, which is working round the clock to support Synnovis and provide emergency guidance.

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