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Ransomware cyber attack hits 70 countries, Russian government, British hospitals

13 May 2017

Hospitals have been closed and operations cancelled at short notice, and medical staff have resorted to pen and paper to work. "We are not aware of any evidence that patient data has been compromised", she added.

It is understood that the NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was told to switch off all its IT systems. He said that mobile communications haven't been affected. However, it said that the hospital was "working as normal".

Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they had identified the malware behind the attack in upward of 70 countries, although both said the attack has hit Russian Federation hardest.

Anne Rainsberry, NHS incident director, said: "We are asking people to use the NHS wisely while we deal with this major incident, which is still ongoing".

He said he was aware of incidents in which insurers had paid out money to cyber-attackers.

Southern Derbyshire CCG also told all of its GP surgeries to switch off their IT systems.

At least 16 NHS organisations in England have reportedly been affected by the attack which NHS England has declared a major incident.

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Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust released a statement saying that their hospitals - Broomfield Hospital, St Michael's Hospital, St Peter's Hospital and Braintree Community Hospital - had been affected. The NSA and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Andrea Zapparoli Manzoni, a senior manager in the Information Risk Management division of Kpmg Advisory in Italy, said: "The ransomware attack is happening in a haphazard fashion and is hitting every country in the world, including Italy".

In a tweet, Europol Director Rob Wainwright said the cyberattack on British health care institutions "follows trend from United States of ransomware attacks on health care trusts". Lord, who described an attack of this type as "inevitable", said the impact was exacerbated because most NHS Trusts had "a poor understanding of network configuration meaning everything has to shut down".

Services in London, the central city of Nottingham, and the counties of Hertfordshire and Cumbria were affected, according to the BBC.

It said the attacks had not affected the companies' services or data protection of their clients. "If you need that data back, you're going to pay".

According to reports from some companies, systems in the USA are starting to see the attack, and IT departments are urging employees to shut down any "non-essential" systems to avoid infection.

Although Microsoft released a security patch for the flaw earlier this year, many systems have yet to be updated, researchers said.

Waterloo Medical Centre in Blackpool told the BBC it had been affected by the attack.

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NHS Lanarkshire is the only board in Scotland where acute hospital sites have been hit, although those hospitals are continuing to operate.

Many cancelled all routine procedures and asked patients not to come to the hospitals unless it was an emergency.

"Immediate steps were taken to isolate the affected systems and to ascertain the exact nature of the malware being used".

York Hospital has been badly hit.

And the Scottish Ambulance Service, which is also classed as a health board, was hacked in the attack, taking the total number of boards hit north of the border to 12.

Blackpool Hospitals NHS Trust, which includes six hospitals, said: "Please don't attend A&E unless it's an emergency" and "Please avoid contacting your GP practice unless absolutely necessary". Sixteen NHS organizations were hit, while a large number of Spanish companies were also attacked using ransomware. CNN has not independently confirmed that number.

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