London hospitals hit by computer virus

Filed Under: Malware

Three hospitals in London are reported to be infected by a variant of the Mytob worm.

According to the BBC, St Bartholomew's (also known as Barts) in the City, the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and The London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green have been forced to shut down their entire computer systems as a result of the infection.

A statement on the Barts website has attempted to reassure the public and patients that the attack was being dealt with and that no one was in any danger.

Statement on Barts Hospital website about computer virus

According to The Register, some doctors have resorted to using pen-and-paper backup systems.

The Mytob worm spreads via email, planting a backdoor Trojan horse which can be used by remote hackers to gain access and control over a victim's computer. The computer can then be spied upon (to steal confidential information), or used to send spam or launch denial of service attacks.

There will, no doubt, be concerns that the confidentiality of patients' data may have been put at risk and the hospitals will surely be keen to reassure the public that security has been maintained.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley