Windows key

The UK Department of Health and Social Care has announced that it will transition all National Health Service (NHS) computer systems to Windows 10.

Officials cited the operating system's more advanced security features as the primary reason for upgrading current systems, such as the SmartScreen technology included with Microsoft Edge (a Google Safe Browsing-like system) and Windows Defender, Microsoft's sneakily good antivirus product.

WannaCry outbreak played a role

Department officials didn't ignore the elephant in the room, and also referenced the damages caused by the WannaCry ransomware outbreak last year as one of the reasons for upgrading their infrastructure.

The NHS was one of the first WannaCry victims last year, and one of the most harshly hit.

In a report published last year, NHS officials said WannaCry hit more than a third of all NHS trusts and led to the cancelation of over 6,900 medical appointments across the UK, including critical operations, albeit there was no loss of human life because of the cyber-attack.

According to Kaspersky and Microsoft telemetry, over 98 percent of all WannaCry victims were Windows 7 users.

By moving its infrastructure to Windows 10, NHS officials hope to leverage the plethora of new security features added in Windows 10 to safeguard NHS networks from similar future incidents.

UK govt plans to spend £150 million in the next three years

The UK government said it spent £60 million ($82 million) since last year's outbreak to bolster NHS' security systems and plans to spend £150 million ($205 million) more over the next three years. Department officials didn't reveal the value of the Microsoft "Windows 10 upgrade" deal, but they said it's a "multi-million pound" package.

Government officials also plan to create a new digital security operations center to prevent, detect and respond to similar cyber-security incidents. Other spending plans include:

ⵙ  £21 million to upgrade firewalls and network infrastructure at major trauma center hospitals and ambulance trusts
ⵙ  £39 million spent by NHS trusts to address infrastructure weaknesses
ⵙ  New powers given to the Care Quality Commission to inspect NHS trusts on their cyber and data security capabilities
ⵙ  A data security and protection toolkit which requires health and care organizations to meet ten security standards
ⵙ  A text messaging alert system to ensure trusts have access to accurate information – even when internet and email services are down

For the past few years, UK antivirus maker has been the NHS' official antivirus provider. It is unclear if NHS plans to use Sophos products alongside Windows Defender on the upgraded Windows 10 systems.

At the time of the WannaCry attack, Sophos was heavily criticized for its tardy response to the whole incident.

Related Articles:

Windows 10 Ransomware Protection Bypassed Using DLL Injection

Windows 10 Audio Not Working After Installing Latest Windows Updates

HP PCs Getting WDF_VIOLATION BSOD After Installing Windows 10 Updates

Microsoft Added Severity Levels to Feedback Hub Bug Reports for Windows 10

Fixed Windows 10 October 2018 Update Released to Insiders for Testing