HSE to have access to new NHS Cyber Security Batsignal

The two chairs of the largest independent communities of NHS digital leaders launched the ‘NHS Cyber Security Batsignal’, a new peer-to-peer cyber security warning and alerting system. Through Ireland’s links to this group the HSE now benefits from being part of this initiative.

The new community-developed incident and alerting service is designed to provide immediate alerts of future cyber security incidents and enable sharing of information on how to respond, ensuring digital leaders across the health in the UK and Ireland can remain in contact even if official channels are out of action.

The new ‘Batsignal’ has been developed by the Chief Clinical Information Officer and Health CIO Networks, the grass roots-based leadership communities of over 1,800 local digital leaders, with representation from the vast majority of organisations in the NHS and HSE. This group has been convened by Digital Health.

An ‘After Action Review’ chaired by Dr Joe McDonald, CCIO at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the CCIO Network, identified a need for a simple peer-to-peer alerting system. The vital importance of social networks in enabling communications to continue when email systems were being suspended was also highlighted in the recent NAO review on WannaCry and was a clear message from eHealth Ireland’s own post event review.

 “The Batsignal project means that the CCIO and CIO networks have 1,800 pairs of highly-trained eyes on watch for the ‘next’ WannaCry at all times and the means to give early warning to members who have signed up to receive text alerts,” said McDonald.

Once registered, they will be able to trigger and receive future alerts, which will be sent by email, on the Discourse community platform and by text alerts to their mobile.

The initial threshold for a member of the network to trigger the ‘Batsignal’ is: ‘The detection of an infected computer where the threat is likely to propagate to other healthcare organisations.’


The team that developed the Bat Signal commented earlier this week on the clarity of the message that the Irish healthcare system used during the crisis, #ThinkB4YouClick was applauded by the team for its simplicity and meaningfulness at the UKs first Public Sector Cyber Security Conference.

Jane Carolan the HSE’s interim CIO welcomed this initiative saying,

“The need to make the most of every part of the resources available to digital health is how we will be successful going forward. Sharing the burden of monitoring and moving to a new way of working instills an openness to share that is significant for us in eHealth Ireland.”

Originally reported on at Digitalhealth.net