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Operations and appointments cancelled at some Yorkshire hospitals — NHS cyber attacks

17 May 2017

The nasty and huge "ransomware" attack that seized computers worldwide on Friday is set to have a second wave.

The indiscriminate attack began Friday and struck banks, hospitals and government agencies, exploiting known vulnerabilities in older Microsoft computer operating systems.

Telefónica: Spanish authorities confirmed the Spanish telecom company Telefónica was one of the targets, though the attack affected only some computers and did not compromise the security of clients' information.

French carmaker Renault said its plant in the northern town of Douai would not reopen on Monday as it dealt with the cyber-attack.

The NHS was among hundreds of organisations affected around the world, with 47 trusts hit. Ryan Kalember, senior vice president at Proofpoint Inc., which helped stop its spread, said the version without a kill switch could spread. "We haven't fully dodged this bullet at all until we're patched against the vulnerability itself". Lynne Owens, director-general of Britain's National Crime Agency, said there was no indication of a second surge of the cyberattack, "But that doesn't mean there won't be one".

UK health minister: No second spike in cyber attacks is 'encouraging'
Paying the ransom will not ensure any fix, said Eiichi Moriya, a cyber security expert and professor at Meiji University. And organisations that were affected on Friday, and over the weekend, might find that some of the problems have spread.

The NHS Digital representative said in an interview with the Sky News broadcaster that the security patch became available on the corporate portal as far back as April 25 and NHS computer staff received a link to download the patch on April 27.

"We can not confirm why this happened, and we are in the middle of investigating", said Hajime Nishikawa of the city hall's IT division. "It is so visible and so global".

But as Asia woke up to the working week on Monday, leading Chinese security-software provider Qihoo 360 said "hundreds of thousands" of computers in the country were hit at almost 30,000 institutions including government agencies. Universities and other educational institutions in the country were among the hardest hit, possibly because schools tend to have old computers and be slow to update operating systems and security.

Railway stations, mail delivery, gas stations, hospitals, office buildings, shopping malls and government services also were affected, China's Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Threat Intelligence Center of Qihoo 360, an internet security services company.

In the U.S., FedEx Corp. reported that its Windows computers were "experiencing interference" from malware, but wouldn't say if it had been hit by ransomware. Japanese broadcaster NTV reported 600 companies in that country had been hit, and automaker Nissan and the Hitachi conglomerate said they were addressing the problem at their units that were affected.

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But if it was sacked at a standard trajectory, it would have a range of at least 4,000 km (2,500 miles), experts said. Pacific Command said Sunday's test flight "is not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile".

NHS Digital said health trusts across England were sent details of an IT security patch that would have protected them from the attack.

The ransomware takes over users' files, demanding $300 (£230) to restore them.

In the U.S., President Donald Trump appointed his homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, to coordinate a response.

Experts said that Russian Federation is particularly vulnerable to this kind of attack because of its aging computing infrastructure and lax approach to cybersecurity. Tom Bossert, a homeland security adviser to President Donald Trump, said "criminals" were responsible, not the USA government. Bossert said that while USA officials had not ruled out the possibility that it was a "state action", he said it appeared to be criminal in nature, given the ransom requests.

He noted that many payments were already being made, but warned that paying the ransom did not ensure any fix, and suggested people keep data backups as the attack causes encryptions.

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Putin said Russian Federation had a year ago sought an agreement with the previous United States administration on co-operation in the field of cyber security, but Washington had dragged its feet and no deal was concluded. "It's like after a robber enters your home".