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This is how it feels to face a major cyber attack

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Intense, stressful, petrifying: those are just some of the words used to describe what it was to be at the centre of some of the biggest and most high profile cyber attacks to take place over the last year.

The WannaCry ransomware indiscriminately spread to infect organisations around the world[1] but its impact was felt particularly harshly by the UK's National Health Service[2], with the attack taking hospitals and local clinics offline and leading to the disruption of patient care.

Some parts of the NHS took weeks to return to normal[3], but in the first hours of the attack, it was up to the organisation's security and technology teams to figure out what was going on and find a way to counter it.

Dan Taylor, head of security at NHS Digital, was just returning from lunch when it became apparent the NHS was under attack.

"NHS Digital wasn't affected, we were secure, but monitoring across the NHS network we could see organisations falling over," he said, speaking on a panel about reacting to cyberattacks at the National Cyber Security Centre's CYBERUK conference[4] in Manchester.

"It was petrifying," he said, describing how thoughts immediately turned to how the incident was going to impact patient care. "We don't deal in the bottom line, it isn't about balance sheets, it's about patient care and you have to have that focus."

While there was a certain amount of adrenaline fuelling the team in those first few hours, Taylor said having a plan in place and being able to stick to it was crucial.

"You kind of have to embrace the panic and the fear, that adrenaline gets you through the

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