Yet more reasons why large scale IT projects containing sensitive data are prone to failure. IT projects like the NHS Database.
Firstly the BNP had their membership list published on the internet, and this has led to some nastiness. While some people may think that publishing a list of these odious people is some sort of 'justice', I happen to think that data security should apply to everyone, no matter how nasty their legal views are.
It's though that this was an inside job from a disgruntled former employee. It's hard to protect against such things, and with the NHS being such a large employer, it will only be a matter of time before one person decides to open the floodgates and open up the system to abuse.
The second example is the virus infecting the Royal London Hospital. This was the Mytob worm that disables anti-virus software, shuts down firewalls and allows remote access. It's been around since early 2005.
All I know is that for a large part of Tuesday, the Royal London Hospital wasn't accepting ambulance patients into A&E. While I wasn't there, I can't see how the failure of a computer system meant that they couldn't deal with emergency patients. Even worse, this came a day after all the local hospitals were inundated with patients. At my local hospital there were no beds available at half past six and there were nine ambulances waiting to handover their patients into the packed out A&E.
Therefore, hospitals that were still recovering after an exceptionally busy Monday had more pressure put on them because the Royal London went on divert.
I know of one critically injured patient who should have gone to the Royal London, as it's a trauma centre, but instead had to go to another hospital. So, despite the official statement, I would suggest that “By using back-up systems, manual procedures and working flexibly, we have continued to provide high quality care to our patients.“, isn't true for all patients.
All this was caused by an old worm that should be fully protected against – imagine if it were something specifically written to take advantage of the NHS computer systems. Imagine if the whole computer system was linked and the worm had access to the entirety of the NHS via a joined up database?
If you have been to the Barts and London Trust can you be sure that the remote access feature of this worm hasn't been used and that your medical details aren't now out there?
But of course the NHS IT programme won't be doomed to failure, because they are using the best of the best to design the system, not the cheapest or most politically expedient…
Today was supposed to be my 'getting things done' day, but instead I have the lurgy (which may explain some things if this post is utterly unreadable).
Pondering – I wonder if there is a market for insulated and waterproofed Burkhas? I imagine that they'd be quite nice in the worst of the English weather. A cross between a Parka and a Burkha – but what would I call it?