I am writing to you to request the following information about your NHS Trust under section 1(1) of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000:
1. What was the total number of cyber attack incidents that have been recorded in your trust in the past 24 months?
2. What is the classification of your policy regarding breach response?
3. Of the devices running Windows operating systems, what is the number and percentage of devices running Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows XP?
4. What are the top 20 cyber security risks in your Trust, and how are they managed?
5. Do you continue to use the Unified Cyber Risk Framework, is so how many risks are still identified/managed.
6. What is your Patch Management Cycle and how is it implemented on old Operating systems (e.g., for Windows , Windows XP)?
7. What is your current status on unpatched Operating Systems?
8. Of the devices running Windows Servers operating systems, what is the number and percentage of devices running Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, Windows 2016, Windows 2019, Windows 2022?
9. Has your Trust signed up to and implemented the NHS Secure Boundary managed service to strengthen cyber resilience? If so, how many cyber security threats has the NHS Secure Boundary detected within your NHS Trust since its implementation?
10. Does your Trust hold a cyber insurance policy? If so:
a. What is the name of the provider;
b. How much does the service cost; and
c. By how much has the price of the service increased year-to-year over the last three years?
11. When did the current Board last receive a briefing on cybersecurity threats within healthcare, and when did they last participate in cyber security training? How frequently, if at all, do these briefings and trainings occur, and are they carried out by cyber security technology professionals?
12. Has your NHS Trust completed a Connection Agreement to use the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN)? If so, did you pass, and is there a copy of the code of connection?
13. Have there been any incidents of staff members or personnel within your Trust being let go due to issues surrounding cyber security governance?
Thank you for your recent request dated 16th January 2023.
Public Health Wales does not confirm or deny that we hold the information you have requested as we do not release details regarding our information security arrangements and we therefore engage the following exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Section 38(2) – Health and Safety of the Act – which states that:
38(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to –
(a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual, or
(b) endanger the safety of any individual.
(2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, have either of the effects mentioned in subsection (1).
Public Interest Test
Public interest considerations in favour of releasing the information.
There is a general public interest in openness and transparency in public sector bodies which can help to maintain public trust.
Information relating to Public Health Wales protective security measures in relation to its systems are clearly matters of public interest and we recognise that there is a legitimate interest in knowing that security measures are in place and where they are focused.
Public interest considerations in favour of refusing to release the information.
Public Health Wales has a duty to protect the public and individuals, and to provide a safe and effective public health service. The release of information under FOIA is ‘release to the world’ and I feel that releasing this information into the public domain would not be in the public interest.
Public Health Wales protective security measures that exist are there to protect our systems which are used to directly assist with the provision of patient care. It has been established that any groups who may be planning cyber-attacks are known to conduct extensive research into the opposition they might face and the release of any information which is held about the security of our systems, no matter how innocuous such requests may appear, may enhance the capability of cyber terrorists and hackers to carry out such attacks.
Releasing any information held could enable hackers and cyber criminals to gain knowledge about Public Health Wales capabilities and IT security measures, and this could enable them to plan attacks where they perceive a lower level of security resource exists. This exposes our IT systems to greater risk and therefore it also follows that risk to our systems will also constitute a risk to both public and staff of Public Health Wales as our systems are used to provide patient care.
Balance of Public Interest Test
Public Health Wales concedes that there is a very real interest in the public knowing that it has adequate levels of protection in place for its IT systems to ensure that we limit any potential for risk befalling the systems on which we heavily rely upon to complete our day to day business and for running the organisation.
However Public Health Wales believes that ensuring the safety of our systems is paramount and on the balance of the information provided above Public Health Wales believes that there would be a clear causative link between releasing the requested information which could then expose Public Health Wales to the risk of crime which could subsequently endanger or cause harm to our patients. Public Health Wales believes that confirming or denying the information requested is held could expose Public Health Wales sites to hackers and cyber criminals this in turn could lead to Public Health Wales being unable to deliver and provide patient care thereby resulting in a real risk of potential harm to our patients and staff and endanger individuals who are depend upon our IT systems for the care they require.
Public Health Wales therefore believes that the public interest in releasing this information outweighs any arguments for disclosure and so we will neither confirm nor deny that we hold the information requested.
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of the decision, you should write to the Corporate Complaints Manager, Public Health Wales NHS Trust, 3, Number 2, Capital Quarter, Tyndall Street, Cardiff, CF10 4BZ.
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint or review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Trust. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner for Wales
Telephone: 029 2067 8400