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UK Struggles to Restore Hospital Computer Systems after Global Cyberattack

14 May 2017

English hospitals and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in London, Blackpool, Hertfordshire and Derbyshire were among those to report problems.

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

What about elsewhere in the world?

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

The attack disrupted Britain's health system and companies including carmaker Renault and global shipper FedEx.

The cyberattack was initially believed to target only hospitals in the United Kingdom, but it turned out to be a worldwide attack, British Prime Minister Theresa May said.

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Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu cited 45,000 attacks in 74 countries as of Friday evening.

What's caused the attack?

It's a piece of malicious software that encrypts files on a user's computer, blocking them from view and threatening to delete them unless a payment is made. But computers and networks that haven't updated their systems are at risk. Expert Marco Cova has claimed it may derive from a tool known as EXTERNALBLUE which was developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The security holes it exploits were disclosed several weeks ago by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious group that has published what it says are hacking tools used by the NSA as part of its intelligence-gathering.

What happened when the attack hit?

A number of hospitals across 16 trusts in London, Blackburn, Nottingham, Cumbria and Hertfordshire have been affected, resulting in many doctors resorting to pen and paper as phone and IT systems were shut down.

The statement added: "Local health and care organisations would like to reassure patients that should they need the NHS in an emergency situation that they should access services as they would normally".

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"Several" computers of Russia's Emergency Ministry had also been targeted, its representative told TASS, adding, that "all of the attempted attacks had been blocked, and none of the computers were infected with the virus". No NHS Trusts reported paying a ransom or informed law enforcement of the attacks; all preferred to deal with the attacks internally, said SentinelOne, which received responses from 94 of 129 NHS Trusts.

Computers across the world were locked up on Friday and users' files held for ransom when dozens of countries were hit in a cyber-extortion attack that targeted hospitals, companies and government agencies. Some regional NHS trusts said they had cancelled cancer and outpatient appointments scheduled for the weekend. Protecting patient information is our top priority.

"At this stage, we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed".

Ms Sturgeon told the BBC: "Obviously cyber-attacks of this nature are hugely concerning and I think they underline the vulnerability not just of the public sector, but also of society generally to cyber-attacks, but they also underline the importance of all organisations making sure that they have all appropriate measures in place to protect against those kinds of attack".

In Asia, some hospitals, schools, universities and other institutions were affected, although the full extent of the damage is not yet known because it is the weekend. "Ambulances are being diverted to neighbouring hospitals".

"I'm watching how far this propagates and when governments get involved", he said. The operation could have come at any time.

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"(The virus) feels random in terms of where it's gone to and where it's been opened", she said.