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Cyberattacks using leaked NSA hacking tool affect 12 nations

13 May 2017

Rudd said the attack was not specifically targeted at Britain's health service.

Britain's National Health Service said hospitals were hit by an apparent "ransomware" attack, but there was no immediate evidence that patient data had been accessed. It is an global attack.

Over 45,000 attacks in 70 countries were recorded by Russian security firm Kaspersky - with the most attacks occurring in Russia.

This image provided by the Twitter page of @fendifille shows a computer at Greater Preston CCG as Britain's National Health Service is investigating "an issue with IT" Friday May 12, 2017. The computers all appeared to be hit with the same ransomware, and similar ransom messages demanding about $300 to unlock their data.

The ransomware encrypts data on the computer using an encryption key that only the attacker knows.

"The investigation is at an early stage, but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor", the NHS says, referring to software that is being blamed for a number of ransom attacks in Europe Friday.

"Both staff and patients were frankly pretty appalled that somebody, whoever they are, for commercial gain or otherwise, would attack a health care organization", he said. "We will continue to work with affected (organizations) to confirm this". But Villasenor said there is "no ideal solution" to the problem.

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NHS hospitals across the North, East and West Midlands, and London were reporting IT failures, in some cases meaning there was no way of operating phones or computers. Once one computer is affected, the malware spreads itself across the network.

Affected by the onslaught were computer networks at hospitals in Britain, Russia's interior ministry, the Spanish telecom giant Telefonica and the USA delivery firm FedEx and many other organizations.

Spain's Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda confirms the intrusion, describing it as "punctual attacks". Russia's interior and emergencies ministries, as well as the country's biggest bank, Sberbank, confirmed they had been targeted. She said less than 1% of its computers were affected, and that the virus is now "localized".

Security experts warn there is no guarantee that access will be granted after payment.

According to Alan Woodward, a visiting professor of computing at the University of Surrey, this particular malware emerged in February, and it has one goal: "to extort money in return for releasing the data it has encrypted".

All told, several cybersecurity firms said they had identified the malicious software in upward of 60 countries, including the United States, though its effects in the US did not appear to be widespread, at least in the initial hours.

That meant that all systems were offline and hospitals were unable to accept incoming calls.

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He added, "It is a frightful lesson about why using supported software, and keeping that software updated, is so important". The statement said antivirus systems are working to destroy it.

In the U.S., delivery company FedEx said it was experiencing issues with some of its Windows systems.

Affected NHS trusts said that IT systems had been shut down in order to protect them.

"Ambulances are being diverted to neighbouring hospitals".

"You can decrypt some of your files for free", reads the message, which we're seeing today in a variety of languages. The program recommends certain patients for treatment with specialists and has a two-week availability window before the treatment is canceled.

Massive cyberattacks causing havoc worldwide.

At Royal London Hospital, doctors who wanted to access patient scans to use as part of lessons for medical students could not do so, he said.

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