Smaller healthcare firms supporting the coronavirus response can receive support, guidance and training on cybersecurity practices under a new Government scheme designed to better protect firms from cyberattack.
As part of London Tech Week, digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman announced £500,000 in Government funding for the scheme.
Small and medium-sized businesses, such as medical suppliers and primary care providers, are being invited to apply for part of the funding and receive guidance and support on cybersecurity and get certification from the Government’s Cyber Essentials programme.
The scheme comes after the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) highlighted an increased cyber threat to the UK health sector, particularly those linked to the pandemic response, with cybercriminals attempting to steal information and research from organisations looking into Covid-19 treatments and responses.
In July, the UK, along with the US and Canada, accused Russian intelligence of targeting universities and researchers in an attempt to steal vaccine research, with the NCSC stepping in to offer more protection to those institutions involved.
“We know there is a heightened cyber threat for healthcare businesses at the moment so we are releasing new funding to help those playing a vital role in the pandemic response to remain resilient,” Mr Warman said.
“I also urge all organisations to sign up to the Government’s Cyber Essentials programme which contains a number of simple steps firms can take to get the fundamentals of good cybersecurity in place.”
The cybersecurity training offered shows businesses how to secure mobile devices and computers, as well as how to properly use firewalls and secure internet connections and control employee access to services.
Firms who join the scheme could also opt to receive support from a cyber expert who will examine their business at a whole, identify any cybersecurity risks and help develop a plan for the business.
Paul Chichester, NCSC director of operations, said: “Protecting healthcare has been our top priority during the Covid-19 pandemic and we have been working hard to ensure organisations can keep themselves secure.
“While we will continue to support them, signing up to initiatives such as Cyber Essentials is an excellent way for organisations to help themselves.
“Those who have not already taken up this offer should do so – it will help ensure they have fundamental security protections in place, even in the most challenging of times.”