NHS patient data site compromised and defaced by hackers

Published on: 20 Apr 2018

An NHS website hosting patients’ data was defaced by hackers earlier this week.

Visitors to the site - insights.london.nhs.uk - were presented with a black background, eerie music and a message in white text that read: ‘Hacked by AnoaGhost’, accompanied by a list of assumed hacker aliases.

The breach was spotted by cyber security expert Kevin Beaumont, who shared a screenshot of the site via his @GossiTheDog Twitter handle.

In the tweet, he claimed that the hackers’ message had been in place for over a week. However, within hours of Mr Beaumont’s screengrab going live, it had been removed.

A cached screenshot of the web page suggests the hackers’ message was at least five days old, but the NHS disputes this.

BBC News claims the message only vanished after it contacted NHS Digital, which advises on technical issues for NHS organisations.

The hacked site in question hosts data from sources such as patient surveys about primary care providers including GP surgeries.

A spokesman for NHS Digital told the BBC: "We are aware of this and action has been taken by the site owners to remove the defaced parts of the website.

"We will work with the site owner to help them remediate the underlying vulnerability."

The incident raises even more questions about cyber security measures in place at the NHS, and comes just less than a year after the WannaCry ransomware devastated the organisation’s systems.