Five years after WannaCry, Cheltenham-based Cylera reveals NHS cyber alert dashboard


This May marked five years since the WannaCry ransomware attacks showed the heartlessness of cyber criminals. Governments across the world, hospitals and a number of global companies found themselves the victims of ransom demands as the cyber attackers demanded money in return for unfreezing computers.

The NHS was a high-profile victim, with hospitals and GP surgeries across the UK affected.

Now Cylera, a leader in IoT and medical device cybersecurity and intelligence in Cheltenham, together with Cirencester cyber security company Core to Cloud, have revealed  a new dashboard and features within the Cylera MedCommand Platform to help NHS Trust customers more rapidly meet response requirements to NHS Digital high severity cyber alerts (formerly CareCERT).

NHS Trusts are required to respond quickly to cyber threat notifications received from NHS Digital’s Data Security Centre (DSC), and must acknowledge receipt of high severity cyber alerts within 48 hours to help protect against the rise in high severity exploits that could impact patient care, privacy, and service continuity.

Phil Howe, Chief Technology Officer, Core to Cloud, and formerly Deputy Chief Technology Officer with Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Given the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape, NHS Trusts need to quickly acknowledge and respond to high severity cyber alerts.

“Information Technology (IT) and security teams always have large task lists and many other urgent needs demanding their attention, so a dashboard like this really helps IT have all the information they need in one view.”

“Cylera wanted to make it easy for Trusts to quickly respond to NHS Digital cyber alerts,” said Paul Bakoyiannis, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and co-founder at Cylera.

“The new Cyber Alert Dashboard provides access to all current and historical cyber alerts, and through our analysis, users can immediately tell what systems are affected in the Cylera register of medical devices. The whole response workflow can be managed from one dashboard.”

The dashboard can also be an online source of verification for auditors assisting NHS Trusts to help meet their 2022 DSPT Data Security and Protection Toolkit requirements. The dashboard is informed by other capabilities within Cylera: asset inventory and management, vulnerability assessment, risk analysis, threat detection, fleet optimisation, security compliance, and its proprietary threat intelligence database.

“NHS Trusts are having to play catch up after COVID, and are still strapped for resources. There’s a backlog of IT system changes and a huge growth in medical devices that is changing the threat surface”, said Richard Staynings, Chief Security Strategist at Cylera. “One of the greatest challenges faced by Trusts is to understand what exactly is connected to their networks, and what risks these systems pose. Many Trusts are still catching up, such as in the 2022 requirement for organisations to have a register of medical devices. Unfortunately, few today have the needed visibility into their estate assets, and this makes it difficult to respond when a high severity cyber alert comes out.”