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Cyber attack: NHS ordered to upgrade outdated systems as disruption continues

19 May 2017

The minister also confirmed the attack wasn't on a government organisation. It warned computer users to install and upgrade security software as a precaution.

NHS Wales has announced that none of its computer systems have been impacted and no patient data affected by a global cyber-attack.

Security sources said they were working with Marcus Hutchins, who uses the name Malware Tech, and others to try to stop the spread of the WannaCry ransomware attack.

As per the reports, the National Health Service or NHS in England and Scotland appears to have been among the worst hit. The exploit, codenamed EternalBlue, is alleged to have been part of the arsenal of the Equation, a cyberespionage group widely believed to be a team linked to the U.S. National Security Agency.

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"Windows XP is "not a good platform" for ensuring critical data is secure", said Amber Rudd, home secretary for the United Kingdom, according to BBC News. Some of the victims have reportedly regained access to their files after paying, although security experts advise against complying with ransom demands.

Just this Friday, the NHS experienced what is now being called a "ransomware attack", with the cyber security breach causing 16 out of 47 trusts to face issues. Microsoft over the weekend also released patches targeting out-of-support versions of Windows including Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 8.

The attack is unique, according to Europol, because it combines ransomware with a worm function, meaning once one machine is infected, the entire internal network is scanned and other vulnerable machines are infected. In December it was reported that nearly all NHS trusts were using an obsolete version of Windows that Microsoft had stopped providing security updates for in April 2014.

The National Cyber Resilience Leaders' Board was chaired by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, while Health Secretary Shona Robison made a statement to update Parliament on resilience efforts.

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Analysts said that cases in China, where the use of pirated software has always been a problem, were likely to be underreported.

"They have been working I know through the night nearly to make sure patches are in place to make sure that hopefully the NHS services can get back to normal", he told BBC radio.

The update urged the ublic to "please think carefully if you feel you need to book a GP appointment and consider if it can be delayed to later in the week".

After concerns were reported about three hospitals, cyber security analysts said an older virus had been found.

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