London hospitals hit by computer virus

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Three hospitals in London are reported to be infected by a variant of the Mytob worm.

According to the BBC, St Bartholomew’s (also known as Barts) in the City, the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and The London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green have been forced to shut down their entire computer systems as a result of the infection.

A statement on the Barts website has attempted to reassure the public and patients that the attack was being dealt with and that no one was in any danger.

Statement on Barts Hospital website about computer virus

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According to The Register, some doctors have resorted to using pen-and-paper backup systems.

The Mytob worm spreads via email, planting a backdoor Trojan horse which can be used by remote hackers to gain access and control over a victim’s computer. The computer can then be spied upon (to steal confidential information), or used to send spam or launch denial of service attacks.

There will, no doubt, be concerns that the confidentiality of patients’ data may have been put at risk and the hospitals will surely be keen to reassure the public that security has been maintained.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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