UK working to restore hospital systems after cyberattack

Posted May 14, 2017

The attack appeared to exploit a vulnerability purportedly identified for use by the U.S. National Security Agency and later leaked to the internet.

As per the reports, the National Health Service or NHS in England and Scotland appears to have been among the worst hit.

Several cybersecurity firms said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack, which has apparently hit Russian Federation the hardest.

He urged Windows users to update their systems and reboot. There have been several incidents in the U.S., including one in IN where a hospital's IT system was taken down and patients had to be diverted to other facilities, according to a local news report.

Hospitals in London, north-west England and central England have all been affected, according to the BBC. Doctors' practices and pharmacies reported similar problems. That has made them a reliable target of ransomware and identity-theft attacks, and why they routinely fall victim even to random mass attacks.

They say the factory of Renault factory at Sandouville, in northwestern France, was one of the sites affected.

Thousands of computers around 99 countries, including the UK, US, China, Russia, Spain and Italy, were said to be affected in the attack.

According to cybersecurity firm Avast, hackers exploited a known vulnerability in Microsoft Windows to lock scores of computers and demand a ransom of $300 worth of bitcoin, a digital currency that is hard to track, to restore access.

It has been identified as an old variant of ransomware that exploited a known bug in Microsoft's Windows operating system.

"Appropriate economy-wide policy responses are needed", the ministers said in their draft statement, seen by Reuters. Affected hospitals include those run by East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust, Barts Health in London, Essex Partnership university NHS trusts, the university hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS foundation trust, Southport and Ormskirk hospital NHS trust and Blackpool teaching hospital NHS foundation trust.

"It had a countdown clock ticking down, stating that all data would be deleted unless a payment was received within that timeframe", he said.

"This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organizations from across a range of sectors".

"We are continuing to take the appropriate steps to address the situation".

Many of the British hospitals that were victims to the attack were using the outdated software, experts said.

The ransomware - which locks down files until money is paid - is a new version that is rapidly spreading across the world.

A number of large Spanish firms - including telecoms giant Telefonica, power firm Iberdrola and utility provider Gas Natural - were hit, with reports that staff at the firms were told to turn off their computers.

"And, we are not aware of any evidence that patient data has been compromised".

It was not immediately clear whether patients had suffered as a result of the attack. "It's stressful enough for someone going through recovery or treatment for cancer".

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cyber security company F-Secure, told AFP that the attack was "the biggest ransomware outbreak in history", saying that 130,000 systems in more than 100 countries had been affected.

Here's everything you need to know about the cyber attack. "Our teams are working to resolve the issue".

Ransomware attacks are on the rise around the world.

Doctors have been posting on Twitter about what has been happening to their systems.

Almost hundred countries, including India, were hit by a massive cyberattack on Saturday morning, reported news agency PTI.

"She went away and came back and said that was it".