Published: Sat, May 13, 2017
Tech | By Constance Martin

"Ransomware" cyberattack cripples hospitals across England


In a statement, the NHS said that its early investigations attributed the attack to a strain of malware known as the "Wanna Decryptor", a ransomware program that infects computers via a trojan virus and encrypts data stored on the local disk drive. We'll note that Kaspersky supports NPR and is a provider of security services for its IT systems.

Early reports on the blog of a United Kingdom cybersecurity firm suggest the attack has spread based on a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that featured in a leak of exploits used by the US National Security Agency that was published by the hacking group Shadow Brokers.

"Although this is still a developing story, from the outside this sounds very much like a number of simultaneous ransomware attacks". It locks files and demands a ransom paid in the online currency Bitcoin.

A spokesperson for Barts Health NHS Trust in London said it was experiencing "major IT disruption" and delays at all four of its hospitals.

The NHS has been hit by a large ransomware cyberattack - but how do they work and how fast is the problem growing?

Hospitals reported phone systems, X-ray services and patient administration systems had been affected while one doctor in eastern England reported all cancer treatments had been suspended in his area.

NHS Digital said there was no evidence that patient data had been accessed.

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Philip K Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers' Association (SMA) said that Lighthizer's appointment was extremely pleasing. Lighthizer noted that "conservative statesmen from Alexander Hamilton to Ronald Reagan sometimes supported protectionism".

"A cyber resilient nation requires defence in depth security and continuity plans to keep critical services running every time they are attacked".

According to a report by The Guardian, hospitals across the country appear to have been simultaneously hit by a bug in their IT systems, leading to many diverting emergency patients.

Lincoln County Hospital, Pilgrim Hospital and Grantham Hospital have all been affected by today's cyber-attack on the NHS, it has been announced.

A Dumfries and Galloway healthboard spokesman said: "Three GP practices have been initially affected and we are taking precautionary measures to prevent any others being affected".

Spain's National Cryptologic Center, which is part of the country's intelligence agency, said on its website that there had been a "massive ransomware attack" against a big number of Spanish organisations affecting Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system.

Pictures posted on social media showed screens of NHS computers with images demanding payment of 300 U.S. dollars worth of the online currency Bitcoin, saying: "Ooops, your files have been encrypted!"

Politico said at least two London hospitals were forced to stop admitting new patients with serious medical conditions due to the attacks. "Our focus is on supporting organisations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively".

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