Michael Fallon insists Trident is ‘fully protected’ from malware attack
The Defence Secretary has insisted Britain’s nuclear deterrent is “fully protected” against a cyber-attack after a breach of systems was orchestrated in more than 100 countries this week.
Michael Fallon said he had “complete confidence” in Trident after all 48 NHS trusts in England fell victim to a massive cyber-attack, with six organisations still wrestling to get their systems back online overnight.
The virus exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows Software. Many NHS organisations had apparently not applied a security update released by Microsoft or were using an older version of the operating system no longer supported called Windows XP.
Mr Fallon refused to be drawn on whether Windows XP was in use on the nuclear deterrent, citing security reasons.
“But our Vanguard submarines I can absolutely sure you are safe and operate in isolation when they’re out on patrol. I have complete confidence in our nuclear deterrent,” he told the Andrew Marr Show.
He added: “I can assure you the nuclear deterrent is fully protected.”
Operations were cancelled and GP appointments lost after the 'ransomware' attack on began on Friday and spread worldwide.
Experts believe the virus used in the hack was stolen from America’s National Security Authority. Those responsible have not been identified yet.
Yesterday Home Secretary Amber Rudd warned: "Cyber-security is a huge industry and we can all do better to protect our businesses and our personal information.
"I would expect NHS trusts to learn from this and to make sure that they do upgrade."
This morning Mr Fallon said the Government set aside £1.9bn to protect Britain against cyber threats after the 2015 security review, of which a large “chunk went to the NHS”.
“We are spending around £50m on the NHS cyber systems to improve their security. We have encouraged the NHS trusts to reduce their exposure to the weakest system, the Windows XP, less than 5% of the trusts actually use that system anymore and there is money available to strengthen these systems,” he said.
Mr Fallon also insisted that ministers had approached NHS Trusts about updating their operating systems from Windows XP.
“We warned them and they were warned again in the spring, they were warned again of the threat,” he said.