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Operations cancelled after cyberattack — NHS hospitals hacked

13 May 2017

F-Secure on Friday says it's gotten reports from more than 60 countries.

"We are now seeing more than 75,000 detections.in 99 countries", Jakub Kroustek of the security firm Avast said in a blog post around 2000 GMT.

Consumers who have up-to-date software are protected from this ransomware. She said the ministry's servers haven't been affected.

It added that there had been no breach of data security.

There is a high-probability that Russian-language cyber-criminals were behind the attack, said Aleks Gostev, chief cybersecurity expert for Kaspersky Labs.

Microsoft already has released a patch fixing the flaw, but it was apparently applied inconsistently, with many computers continuing to be unprotected. But many companies and individuals haven't installed the fixes yet or are using older versions of Windows that Microsoft no longer supports and didn't fix.

Hospitals in the United Kingdom and telecommunications companies in Spain are among those hit by a "ransomware" attack that locked up computer data and demanded payment to free it.

He said it's likely the ransomware will spread to USA firms too.

"For so many organisations in the same day to be hit, this is unprecedented", Mr Wysopal said.

IT systems and phone lines in National Health Service hospitals were locked up on Friday, in a coordinated attack across the world.

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Cyberint, subordinated to the Romanian Intelligence Service, said Friday it thwarted a cyberattack to a government institution, without saying when it occurred, following notification from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Romanian foreign intelligence agency.

Spain's Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda confirms the intrusion, describing it as "punctual attacks".

The statement said "due to the efficient cooperation between the institutions, the attack was prevented as were damages, as the targets were identified as well as the methodology of the attack". Spokesman Petr Lidov told CNN that it affected call centers but not the company's networks. He said that mobile communications haven't been affected.

The attacks came in the form of ransomware, a technique used by hackers that locks users' files unless they pay the attackers a designated sum in the virtual currency Bitcoin.

"The National Cyber Security Centre is working closely with NHS digital to ensure that they support the organisations concerned and that they protect patient safety and we are not aware of any evidence that patient data has been compromised".

Hospitals across the country have been hit by a "ransomware" attack that froze computers, shutting wards, closing emergency rooms and bringing treatment to a halt.

Wanna Decryptor has infected at least 57,000 computers, according to antivirus provider Avast.

As similar widespread ransomware attacks were reported in Spain, Romania and elsewhere, experts warned that online extortion attempts by hackers are a growing menace.

"This is not targeted at the NHS, it's an global attack and a number of countries and organisations have been affected".

A massive ransomware campaign appears to have infected a number of organisations around the world.

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Telecoms giant Telefonica said in a statement that it was aware of a "cybersecurity incident" but that clients and services had not been affected.

But Alan Woodward, visiting professor of computing at the University of Surrey, said he did not believe it was a targeted attack.

Britain's National Health Service is a great source of pride for many in the nation but has been facing substantial budget issues.

Another cause for concern: wcry copies a weapons-grade exploit codenamed EternalBlue that the NSA used for years to remotely commandeer computers running Microsoft Windows.

"This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organizations from across a range of sectors", NHS Digital said in its statement without giving details.

Hospitals across England have canceled appointments and turned away patients after suffering an apparent cyberattack.

NHS England said patients in an emergency should go to A&E or access emergency services as they normally would.

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, threatening to delete files within seven days.

It had to cancel routine appointments and ambulances were being diverted to neighboring hospitals, Barts said.

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