Internet security company Symantec has claimed that more than 1000 computers being used in UK's National Health Service (NHS), have been affected by a sophisticated data stealing malware named Qakbot.
The company reported that although the notorious virus only affects home desktop PCs, it had managed to infect 1,100 NHS computers that hold sensitive patient information including name, illness, cause and treatment prescribed.
Despite the fact that NHS computers, just like any other computer network, were protected by anti-virus software, it is still not clear how the malware managed to infect so many computers.
Surprisingly, when Symantec researchers further tried to investigate the problem by contacting the owners of the infected NHS computers, they found no evidence that pointed towards a possible data theft.
Commenting on the issue at hand, Patrick Fitzgerald, a Symantec security expert, wrote on a blog post that “Qakbot records the contents of information that is stored and used by the AutoComplete feature. In a nutshell, if your computer is compromised, every bit of information you type into your browser will be stolen.”
According to the information provided by Symantec, the malware, is designed to capture anything and everything that is going on on a computer.
It is not only capable of targeting online banking information, but also social networking credentials and credit card details. It will interesting to find out how the NHS reacts to that altogether different but equally dangerous virus.