|The News Line: Editorial
Monday, 15 May 2017
NHS held to ransom by Cyber terrorists – Hunt must resign and the Tories must be sacked on June 8th!
ON FRIDAY afternoon a terrorist cyber attack was launched on the NHS in England and Scotland that brought it to a standstill in many areas, a standstill that is still continuing. The terrorists encrypted vital NHS patient information to prevent doctors having access to it so that patients lives were directly threatened with their operations unable to take place!
Apparently, the ransom demands were for £230 in Bitcoins, so the likelihood is that the NHS, the great gain and pride of the British people is being held to ransom by a gang of amateur robbers!
One would think that the government would die of shame at what has happened, but it marches brazenly on, as if nothing has happened except that Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has gone into hiding, and we have been warned that more of the same is ahead.
The reality is that savage Tory NHS multi-billion cuts have seen hospitals cut and closed, and hundreds of thousands of beds ‘lost’. There are billions of pounds of more savage STP reorganisation cuts ahead, leading the way to NHS privatisation. The ongoing cuts have left the NHS not only understaffed and struggling to provide the service that it was intended for, it has left it with decades-old computers, a sitting duck, for the Cyber terrorists who want to endanger patients lives for a handful of Bitcoins.
Health Secretary Hunt has spent the last 18 months harrying the junior doctors and forcing them to accept an imposed contract. He told them every day that their protests and refusal to work a seven-day service were endangering patients lives and even causing patient deaths! Now we see the essence of the situation. Cameron, May and Hunt’s cuts have not only left the NHS unable to function, they have allowed its security systems to become so completely outdated that the NHS could be held to ransom and patients lives threatened for a handful of Bitcoins! Their refusal to properly finance and secure the NHS has handed it over to terrorists which may well result in a number of patient deaths!
Hunt is directly in charge of the NHS, and must not be allowed to escape responsibility for the crisis that his policies have created. He must be made to resign at once! In fact on June 8th the Tory government itself must be held to account for the crime of allowing the cyber terrorists to hold the NHS for ransom by being sacked by the electorate. A Labour government must be returned that can be made to to carry out a policy of developing the NHS and not destroying it.
One thing that is missing in the present situation is any attempt to blame Putin and Russian hackers for the NHS security crisis.
This is because as the whistleblower Snowden has pointed out that responsibility for the terrorists getting the tools to do the job rests with the USA. Snowden is not alone in pointing out that the US National Security Agency allowed the terrorists to use an NSA tool codenamed EternalBlue that was one of several tools leaked by the Shadow Brokers hacking gang last month.
The tool exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Server Message Block which allows attackers to crash systems with a denial of service attack. After scrambling computer files, the malware demands $300 (£230) in Bitcoin to restore documents.
Edward Snowden commented that: ‘Last month, the Shadow Brokers hacking group released documents containing vulnerabilities identified by the NSA and hacking tools developed by the intelligence agency to break into Windows computers. Shadow Brokers made the exploits public after the NSA left their arsenal of hacking tools on a server “in the wild”, allowing them to be picked up by any hacker who stumbled upon them.
Snowden raised the issue of whether the NSA would be liable for any consequent hack using the tools. The Shadow Brokers’ file dump included 23 new hacking tools named OddJob, EasyBee, EternalRomance, FuzzBunch, EducatedScholar, and others.
The tools are capable of breaking into computers running versions of the Windows operating system which are earlier than the most recent Windows 10. The way to proceed is to make Hunt quit at once, then sack the Tories on June 8th and then send the clean-up bill to the USA and its NSA for payment!
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