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British hospitals suffer major cyber attack - What do we know so far?

13 May 2017

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.

"We were the target of an attack, like what is happening in all of Europe, a large scale-attack, but none of our services were affected", a Portugal Telecom spokeswoman told Reuters.

At least two of Indonesia's major hospitals have been struck in the "ransomware" cyber attack that infected computers globally, a government official said on Saturday.

Megafon, a top Russian mobile operator, said it has come under cyber attacks that appeared similar to those that crippled United Kingdom hospitals. "The numbers are extremely low and coming down fast", he said, while cautioning that any change in the original code could lead the worm to flare up again. The statement said antivirus systems are working to destroy it.

According to a report on the BBC, security experts say that the malware was developed from software tools stolen from the NSA by a hacker group called The Shadow Brokers. Russian Federation remains the country that has been the hardest hit.

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Though 45 health service organisations in England and Scotland were affected by malicious software, no patient data has been accessed or transferred, said Rudd. The U.S. company released an update patch which cover the vulnerability exploited by the malware in March, however, computers without the patch continue to be vulnerable.

Ransomware programmes, which are sent by email and spread swiftly, can be bought on the dark web with sellers negotiating a percentage of the takings. The Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue as part of a trove of hacking tools that they said belonged to the US spy agency.

He said: "Now you probably can't picture a grown man jumping around with the excitement of having just been ransomwared, but this was me". It appeared as if they had been deleted, he said.

Microsoft said on Friday it would roll out the update to users of older operating systems "that no longer receive mainstream support", such Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.

On Wednesday, hackers disrupted the websites of several French media companies and aerospace giant Airbus.

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A message appearing on screens across the National Health Service warns time is running out to make payment. Authorities in Britain have been braced for cyber attacks in the run-up to the election, as happened during last year's USA election and on the eve of the French one. Why is it certain regions are affected more than others? On Friday, Russia's interior and emergencies ministries, as well as its biggest bank, Sberbank, said they were targeted.

Spain, meanwhile, took steps to protect critical infrastructure in response to the attack.

He had highlighted an incident at Papworth Hospital near Cambridge where a nurse clicked on a malicious link and malware infected her computer and started to encrypt sensitive files.

In a statement Saturday, Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, known as EC3, said the attack "is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits".

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