Monday, 25 September, 2017

United Kingdom working to restore hospital systems after cyberattack

The Latest: Expert: NHS hospitals and surgeries paralysed by cyberattack
Tracy Craig | 15 May, 2017, 18:02

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Helsinki-based cybersecurity company F-Secure, called it "the biggest ransomware outbreak in history". Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack in over 70 countries, although both said the attack had hit Russian Federation the hardest.

The bug, called Wanna Decrypt0r 2.0 - also known by names including WCry, WannaCry and WanaCrypt0r 2.0 - exploits a flaw that was identified in a stolen National Security Agency document.

Several employees of MegaFon, one of the largest cellphone operators in Russian Federation, said its systems had been attacked Friday by malware like that used against the British health service, the news website Meduza.io reported. Volk said the ministry's servers were not infected.

According to the cyber experts, the hackers are supposed to crack the loopholes with online security system originally developed by the US National Security Agency.

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. Microsoft swiftly announced that it had already issued software "patches" to fix those holes, but many users haven't yet installed updates or still use older versions of Windows. The National Center for the Protection of Critical Infrastructure says Friday it was communicating with more than 100 providers of energy, transportation, telecommunications and financial services about the attack.

Chris Wysopal of the software security firm Veracode said criminal organizations probably were behind the attack, given how quickly the malware spread.

"For so many organisations in the same day to be hit, this is unprecedented", he said.

In Britain, the National Cyber Security Center says it is "working round the clock" with experts to restore vital health services.

The spokesman, Jan Op Gen Oorth, declined to give further details Friday so as not to jeopardize the ongoing investigations.

The "ransomware" computer attack demands $300 per computer in electronic currency in order to free files from encryption.

Rudd said the government did not know if the attack was directed by a foreign government.

The statement said "due to the efficient cooperation between the institutions, the attack was prevented as were damages, as the targets were identified as well as the methodology of the attack".

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Scotland's biggest board, as well as NHS Tayside, NHS Dumfries and Galloway and NHS Forth Valley said some of their GP surgeries had been affected.

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East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs hospitals in an area north of London, said "the trust has experienced a major IT problem, believed to be caused by a cyberattack". In a statement, May said that no patient data had been compromised.

Dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion attack at a multitude of hospitals, companies and government agencies.

The Interior Ministry said that 1,000 of its computers had been blocked by prompts demanding payment. Doctors' practices and pharmacies reported similar problems.

Spain, meanwhile, said several Spanish companies had been targeted in ransomware cyberattack that affected the Windows operating system of employees' computers. Targets were sent an encrypted, compressed file that, once loaded, allowed the ransomware to infiltrate the quarry's systems.

Elsewhere in Europe, the attack hit Spain's Telefonica, a global broadband and telecommunications company, and knocked ticketing offline for Norway's IF Odd, a 132-year-old soccer club.

Government computers in the northern Swedish municipality of Timra were also affected, officials said.

TMT post, a Chinese online news outlet focusing on the Internet industry, reported that a number of Chinese universities had been affected by the attack.

Microsoft issued a security update on March 14 about vulnerabilities in the Windows system.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which includes Grantham Hospital, Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, said all outpatient appointments, endoscopies, CT and MRI scans scheduled for the weekend have been cancelled.

An exterior view shows the main entrance of St Bartholomew's Hospital, in London, one of the hospitals whose computer systems were affected by a cyberattack, Friday, May 12, 2017.

IT systems and telephone networks appear to have been targeted, with some hospitals now operating on an emergency-only basis.

NHS Merseyside, which operates several hospitals in northwest England, tweeted that "following a suspected national cyberattack, we are taking all precautionary measures possible to protect our local NHS systems and services".

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