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losangelesnewstoday.com November 21, 2017


Britain's health network hit by major hacking attack

13 May 2017, 01:08 | Violet Powell

St Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs The Royal London, St Bartholomew's, Whipps Cross and Newham hospitals in London, said it had implemented its major incident plan to cope with disruption.

"We are aware of an IT issue affecting some NHS computers systems", Blackpool CCG added.

NHS Digital, which oversees United Kingdom hospital cybersecurity, says the attack used the Wanna Decryptor variant of malware, which infects and locks computers while the attackers demand a ransom.

An NHS spokeswoman has confirmed that no patient data was believed to have been taken in the cyber attack that left hospitals telling people to stay away from A&E.

It goes on to demand $300 of the digital currency bitcoin, which equates to around £415,000, otherwise the files will be deleted. People in affected areas were being advised to seek medical care only in emergencies.

"A number of NHS organizations have reported to NHS Digital that they have been affected by a ransomware attack which is affecting a number of different organizations", NHS Digital said in a statement.

Sirer said ransomware has become a lucrative business for criminal syndicates that can make millions of dollars a day from such attacks.

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Hospital trusts across England and Scotland have admitted they've been caught up in the attack, with appointments cancelled, phone lines down and ambulances divereted.

Microsoft issued a patch on March 14 described as critical to users of Windows to fix that vulnerability, which CrowdStrike and Splunk said should protect users from getting infected by Wanna Cry. "It suggests that the group is increasing the ransom demands", an analysis by Kaspersky researchers says.

According to a report in Bleeping Computer, Telefonica - a major Spanish telecoms company - has also been affected by ransomware. If the victim of the hack has robust backups of their system, ransomware is relatively easy to defeat: any affected computers can be wiped and restored from a backup.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs hospitals in Wakefield and Dewsbury, said they were not now affected.

The full extent of the attack is unknown, but the BBC is reporting that hospitals in London, Blackburn, Nottingham, Cumbria and Hertfordshire have been affected.

A screen grab of a instant message conversation circulated by one doctor says: "So our hospital is down ..."

But he said the main IT firewall system for the hospital had so far resisted the security breach, which has shut down NHS computers across the country. A spokesperson said: "We don't know".



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