NHS services across England and Scotland hit by cyber-attack
NHS services across England and Scotland hit by cyber-attack
13 May, 2017, 10:33
Health workers reported being locked out of their systems and seeing messages demanding ransom payments to regain access.
By midafternoon, officials with NHS Digital, which oversees cybersecurity for the national health system, toldthe New York Times that at least 25 hospitals had been hit by the attack.
An alleged hacker unconnected to the incident told Sky News the attack could spread to almost every country in the world. One computer security expert said "Eternal Blue" was used as the "crowbar" that effectively opened the doors to computers, making them vulnerable to attack.
Anne Rainseberry, incident director at NHS, issued a statement reassuring patients that they could access services in an emergency but cautioned that hospitals were still dealing with the aftermath of the attack.
No hackers have claimed responsibility for Friday's global cyberattack, nor have they been identified in other ways. The malware then displays a window informing users that their files have been encrypted and that they can be recovered in lieu of a payment made in bitcoin. "Today we see the cost". After that, the price would be doubled.
The window includes a countdown clock that threatens the files will be lost permanently in seven days.
Microsoft released a patch to address the vulnerability, but networks that did not adopt it would have remained vulnerable. The infected systems rendered files encrypted and inaccessible and a warning flashed across the screens.
Responding to Friday's cyberattack, Reuters reported Microsoft saying that it was pushing out automatic updates to defend Windows systems from the Wanna Cry attack.
At least one Russian agency was hit by the ransomware - a fact that emerged after earlier conflicting reports. Russia's Interior Ministry said Friday it had come under cyberattack.
The emergencies ministry told Russian news agencies it had repelled the cyberattacks while Sberbank said its cyber security systems had prevented viruses from entering its systems.
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He said it's likely the ransomware will spread to US firms too. The agency did not identify those countries.
Reports indicate that as many as 40 offices connected to NHS were impacted, though according to The Guardian, the United Kingdom hasn't yet moved to confirm this figure.
Cybersecurity experts differ on particular assumptions about the attack, but all agreed the campaign appears massive and possibly unprecedented in scope.
Doctors at some surgeries were forced to use pen and paper to record patient details following the attack, local media reported. The interior ministry said on its website that about 1,000 computers had been infected but it had localized the virus. You don't have to be there. It can infect other computers on the same wireless network.
This is not targeted at the NHS, it's an worldwide attack and a number of countries and organisations have been affected. In a statement released around 11:30 a.m. ET, the system's digital office said, "This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organizations from across a range of sectors".
It remains to be clear whether the companies affected by the attacks will pay the requested ransoms - as much as $300 in bitcoin per machine, as reports indicate. "The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor", officials at NHS Digital said in a statement.
"We are also working with CERT NZ to provide information on how individuals, small businesses and operators of larger systems can reduce their vulnerability to ransomware attacks", he said.
The Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue as part of a trove of hacking tools that they said belonged to the USA spy agency.
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