BBC reports Russian cyber criminals are responsible for the recent cyber attack that severely disrupted several major London hospitals, according to Ciaran Martin, the former chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre. The attack targeted Synnovis, a pathology services firm, and has caused significant operational disruptions.

Martin explained on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the criminal group, known as Qilin, was behind the ransomware attack. The group operates on the dark web and is primarily motivated by financial gain. Hospitals affected by the attack include King’s College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’, Royal Brompton, and Evelina London Children’s Hospital.


The ransomware attack has had a major impact on hospital services, leading to the declaration of a critical incident. Blood transfusions and test results have been affected, causing the cancellation of operations and the diversion of emergency patients to other facilities. Martin noted that this type of ransomware attack is particularly severe because it disrupts system functionality rather than just stealing data.


Despite the significant disruption, the British government maintains a policy of not paying ransoms. The focus remains on restoring services rather than dealing with data theft threats. Martin emphasized that while the criminals threaten to publish data, the primary concern is the resumption of hospital services.


An NHS London spokesperson confirmed ongoing disruptions, stating that while urgent and emergency services remain operational, some elective procedures and blood testing appointments have been postponed. Efforts are being made to prioritize the most urgent cases.


Oliver Dowson, a patient whose heart procedure was delayed due to the attack, shared his frustration and anxiety about the rescheduling of his surgery. Synnovis, which processes about 100,000 blood tests daily for the NHS, has yet to comment further on the incident.


NHS London has launched a “cyber incident response team” to address the situation and minimize disruptions. Patients are advised to continue accessing services as usual unless notified otherwise.

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner