DailyPost 2816

If you ever thought that cyber breaches have nothing to do with you, then you are very badly mistaken. If you thought hacks are cyber crimes, with some data losses, here and there with nothing to impact you, you are again badly mistaken. If you thought the current cyber curse of ransomware is all about making big criminal money the modern way, again you are badly mistaken. The headline “London hospitals face blood shortage after Synnovis ransomware attack.” And what devastating things can a blood shortage can do, we are all aware of. This is one of thousands of dimensions of a cyber attack.

This is the complex world we live in. Behind every critical infrastructure is a critical information infrastructure that can be hacked. The impact on the availability of blood is the result of last week’s cyber attack on pathology service provider Synnovis. It has impacted various hospitals in London. It is in this backdrop, England’s NHS Blood and Transfusion Transplant (NHSBT) has issued an urgent call to O Positive and O Negative blood donors to book appointments and to donate.

It was on June 4, operations got disrupted at a large number of NHS big hospitals. It was a result of the ransomware attack that the Russian cybercrime group Qilin launched o Synnovis. Blood transfusions got impacted as the collateral damage of this ransomware attack. Many non-urgent procedures were either cancelled or redirected. The hospitals were not able to quickly match blood donor and recipient types. So there is a likelihood of transfusion mismatch and which we can make can lead to life threatening complications. You would have never imagined that transfusion mismatch can have its genesis in a ransomware attack. This blood type matching system has to start working again. It is likely to take time.

The doctors at the impacted hospitals have a turnaround. They have opted to grant O Positive and O Negative types to patients who cannot wait multiple hours for alternative blood type determination methods. This is the complexity the UK healthcare system has landed in, in its capital city. This tactic has led to depletion of reserves of the two particular types. O type blood has a shelf life of 35 days. It is clear that the impacted hospitals currently cannot match patient’s blood at the same frequency as usual. Keeping the above mentioned groups of blood is the key to the requisite support to the frontline staff to keep services running safely. Synnovis is not in a position to provide any estimation as to when the impacted systems will return to normal operations.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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