Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

No reports of computer virus attacks in Ireland following global hacking

No reports of computer virus attacks in Ireland following global hacking

The attackers who shut down Britain's National Health Service demanded $300 worth of the online currency Bitcoin.

And all this may be just a taste of what's coming, a leading cyber security expert warned.

The virus, called Wanna Decryptor, exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software first identified by American spies at the National Security Agency (NSA), experts have said.

This attack most likely occurred because some hospitals and other affected organizations may not have applied a patch that Microsoft released or were using outdated operating systems that the software giant no longer supports, Woodward said.

The extortion attack, which locked up computers and held users' files for ransom, is believed to be the biggest of its kind ever recorded, disrupting services in nations as diverse as the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, Spain and India.

Some said the attacks highlighted the need for agencies like the NSA to disclose security flaws so they can be patched.

Europol, the European Union's police agency, said the onslaught was at "an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits".

Hospitals across Hertfordshire have recently been experiencing IT failures - but it has been confirmed they are NOT linked to a countrywide "cyber attack". "Boards are now working on protecting and restoring those systems where possible, with a view to getting most operational by Monday".

The extent of the attack was limited after a cyber analyst, working while on holiday, accidentally triggered a hidden "kill switch" in the malicious software.

"Unlike most other attacks, this malware is spreading primarily by direct infection from machine to machine on local networks, rather than purely by email", said Lance Cottrell, chief scientist at the United States technology group Ntrepid.

Microsoft says now it will make the fixes free for everyone.

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That criminal investigation is ongoing, according to people familiar with the matter. Uber claimed its own technology was significantly different.

Chris Wysopal of the software security firm Veracode said criminal organisations were probably behind the attack, given how quickly the malware spread.

According to the reports, almost 100 computers of Andhra Police have been hit by the virus namely Ransomware. "We should be prepared: more hospitals will nearly certainly be shut down by ransomware this year", he wrote.

Russian cellular phone operators Megafon and MTS were hit.

"It's important to understand that cyber attacks can be different from other forms of crime in that their sometimes highly technical and anonymous nature means it can take some time to understand how it worked, who was behind it and what the impact is", he told the BBC.

The Scottish Government said there was no evidence patient data had been compromised following the attack and there have been no further reported problems.

Germany's national railway said Saturday departure and arrival display screens at its train stations were affected, but there was no impact on actual train services. Deutsche Bahn said it deployed extra staff to help customers.

French carmaker Renault was forced to stop production at sites in France, Slovenia and Romania, saying the measure was aimed at stopping the virus from spreading.

Telecommunications company Telefonica was among many targets in Spain.

"I'd like to commend the work that NHS staff have done to ensure the hospitals and patient surgeries continue to run smoothly", said Ms Rudd.

Heintz reported from Moscow and Breed from Raleigh, N.C.

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