cyberattack, healthcare, outage

United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) 111 emergency services are affected by a significant and ongoing outage triggered by a cyberattack that hit the systems of British managed service provider (MSP) Advanced.

Advanced’s Adastra client patient management solution, which is used by 85% of NHS 111 services, has been hit by a major outage together with several other services provided by the MSP, according to a status page.

“There is a major outage of a computer system that is used to refer patients from NHS 111 Wales to out-of-hours GP providers,” the Welsh Ambulance Services said today.

“This system is used by Local Health Boards to coordinate these services for patients. The ongoing outage is significant and has been far-reaching, impacting each of the four nations in the UK.”

The UK public is advised to access the NHS 111 emergency services using the online platform until the incident is resolved.

Cyberattack confirmed by Advanced COO

While public access to Advanced’s status page is now blocked by a login form allowing access only to customers and employees, Advanced’s Chief Operating Officer Simon Short confirmed that the incident was caused by a cyberattack detected on Thursday morning.

“A security issue was identified yesterday, which resulted in loss of service,” Short said in a statement shared with the BBC.

“We can confirm that the incident is related to a cyber-attack and as a precaution, we immediately isolated all our health and care environments.

“Early intervention from our Incident Response Team contained this issue to a small number of servers representing 2% of our Health & Care infrastructure.”

While no details were provided regarding the nature of the cyberattack, based on the wording, it is likely that this was a ransomware or data extortion attack.

Advanced provides business software to more than 22,000 global customers in various industry verticals, from healthcare and education to non-profits.

The MSP’s list of customers includes the NHS, the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and the London City Airport.

A spokesperson for Advanced was not immediately available for comment when contacted by BleepingComputer earlier today for more details.

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