UK’s National Health Service to tap “ethical hackers” in $27m cybersecurity push

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The UK’s NHS is looking to spend $26.7 million (GBP £20 million) to reinforce its central cybersecurity unit with “ethical hackers”, as it aims to bolster its protection from future attacks on its health services systems, according to a The Times UK report.

The new additions will reportedly monitor for emerging threats and work alongside a reinforced security team to protect hospitals from possible future attacks, instead of focusing on repairing previously attacked systems, according to the report.

The UK’s NHS is looking to avoid a repeat of the Wannacry attack in May which shut down a number of healthcare systems in the country, according to the Times UK report.

The NHS’s Digital Health Service computing agency is looking to spend $26.7 million to create a security operations center to protect from such attacks in the future, according to the report. The offer is the largest NHS cybersecurity contract to date.

“The partnership will provide access to extra specialist resources during peak periods and enable the team to proactively monitor the web for security threats and emerging vulnerabilities. It will also allow us to improve our capabilities in ethical hacking, vulnerability testing and the forensic analysis of malicious software and will improve our ability to anticipate future vulnerabilities while supporting health and care in remediating known threats,” NHS Digital said, according to The Times UK.

The new “ethical hackers” will seek to break and exploit vulnerabilities in the NHS’s systems, but without malicious intentions, instead seeking to bring such issues to light so they can be corrected.

In July, a group of UK hospitals received $27.3 million (£21 million) to improve their cybersecurity in the wake of the WannaCry ransomware attack.

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