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UPDATED: West Suffolk Hospital reopens email after cyber-attack

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds
West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds

West Suffolk Hospital’s external email system has been reopened after it was shut down on Friday to defend computers against the international cyber-attack which has hit computer systems across the NHS.

The Bury St Edmunds Hospital shut down its complete email system as soon as the effects of the attack became known.

Affected computers are said to be showing a message like this
Affected computers are said to be showing a message like this

On Monday, Craig Black, the hospital trust’s executive director of resources, said: “West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has not been affected by the cyber-attack.

“All our clinical patient services are running as normal.

“As a precautionary measure we shut down our Trust email system and website. Internal email and the website will come back online shortly.

“However, incoming external emails will remain closed for the time being. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The attack, which has hit organisations across Europe, locked the files in a number of NHS Trusts including Norfolk and Norwich, Norfolk’s James Paget and Colchester General Hospitals.

Nationally, the NHS says it has IT specialists working on the problem.

The attack uses a ransomware like one known as WannaCryptor. It locks files and demands a ransom paid in the online currency Bitcoin.

An NHS Digital statement on Friday said: “NHS Digital is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations and ensure patient safety is protected.

“Our focus is on supporting organisations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively, but we will continue to communicate with NHS colleagues and will share more information as it becomes available.”

Over the weekend, the NCSC advised home and small business users to run Windows Update and make sure their antivirus software is up to date and run a scan.

It added: “If you have not done so before, this is a good time to think about backing important data up – you can’t be held to ransom if you’ve got the data somewhere else.

“We recommend that you don’t store backups on the same computer, or any other device within your home network. Home users should consider using cloud services to back up their important files.

“Many service providers (for example, email providers) offer a small amount of cloud storage space for free.”

If you have anti-virus software it can only offer maximum protection if the virus definitions it uses are regularly updated, which usually requires a subscription.

Organisations attacked across Europe include the Spanish telecoms giant Telifonica, which owns O2, but attacks have also been reported in USA, Russia, Italy, Vietnam, China and Taiwan.

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