Elevated cyber threat following Russian invasion of Ukraine: Important advice for all care providers

Elevated cyber threat following Russian invasion of Ukraine: Important advice for all care providers


This message advises on how care providers can protect themselves against the elevated cyber threat from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and highlights the available Better Security, Better Care support you can access for free to help towards greater cyber resilience.

You will be aware of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Cyber attacks, which may have international consequences, are being deployed as part of this. While the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is not aware of any current specific threats to UK organisations in relation to events in and around Ukraine, there has been an historical pattern of cyber attacks on Ukraine with international consequences.

In light of the continuing heightened cyber threat from Russia, the NCSC published new guidance on 5 July 2022 on Maintaining a sustainable strengthened cyber security posture. A press release can be found here. The aim is to help organisations to avoid staff burnout during an extended period of heightened cyber threat. 

NHS Transformation Directorate (formerly NHSX) and Digital Social Care recommend that all care providers follow this advice:

  • Ensure you have completed or are working towards your Data Security and Protection Toolkit submission. If you have already completed it but have changed your IT systems or developed new services, revisit and use the Toolkit to ensure you’ve thought through the implications of any changes.
  • Notify your IT team or the person responsible for IT, this should also include suppliers of any IT systems that you use such as digital care plans. Make sure they are keeping up to speed with emerging cyber threats, such as Russia/Ukraine and the Log4J vulnerability, and taking appropriate actions to protect the systems you use. For ease, you can send them this information and the NCSC has issued the guidance for all UK organisations.
  • Create or update your data and cyber security Business Continuity Plan. You can use a template and guidance produced by Digital Social Care.
  • Ensure that you are following correct procedures for conducting back-ups. See Digital Social Care guidance – Back Up Your Data.
  • Consider purchasing cyber insurance.
  • Consider the long term implications. See guidance on Maintaining a sustainable strengthened cyber security posture.
  • If you are aware that your organisation is using Russian products and services, such as Kaspersky antivirus, you should review this NCSC blog on the issue, reassess your risk, and evaluate your next steps based on your organisation’s specific circumstances.
  • Report any cyber incidents. Contact the National Cyber Security Centre via report.ncsc.gov.uk/.

Any care provider in England can access free cyber security support from the Better Security, Better Care programme, including implementing any of the advice above. In the first instance, you should contact your Local Support Organisation. Details are available here.

We will be keeping up to speed with developments, so we recommend that you follow us on Twitter for updates.

(Original message posted 11 February 2022, updated 25 February 2022, 1 March 2022, 6 April 2022 and 5 July 2022)

Photo by Yehor Milohrodskyi on Unsplash

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