United Kingdom working to restore hospital systems after cyberattack

Kristopher Drake
May 14, 2017

Speaking to the BBC, Rudd also said that she expects NHS trusts to "learn from the cyber attack and upgrade its systems".

Mr Manning estimated that adequate systems for the health service could cost around £100 million each year, adding: "In a world where every last £1 million of NHS spending is under severe scrutiny it is very hard to get individual trusts, even if you provide the money centrally, to actually use that money for this objective". The western MI resident said he noticed the authors of the malware had left in a feature known as a kill switch.

The attack, known as "Wannacry" is believed to be one of the largest of its kind, affected hospitals, companies, universities and governments, including the NHS where close to 50 health trusts are believed to have been affected. It's not uncommon for them to use aliases, either to protect themselves from retaliatory attacks or for privacy.

The hackers were able to exploit a software program in Microsoft Windows that led to the software's use as a form of a cyber weapon, deceiving users into opening malicious malware attachments. Several cybersecurity firms said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack, which has apparently hit Russian Federation the hardest.

Friday's attack was based on a Windows vulnerability that was purportedly identified by the U.S. National Security Agency and was later leaked to the internet.

A malware tracking map showed "WannaCry" infections popping up around the world. The program recommends certain patients for treatment with specialists and has a two-week availability window before the treatment is canceled. Train systems were hit in Germany and Russian Federation, and phone companies in Madrid and Moscow. Renault's futuristic assembly line in Slovenia, where rows of robots weld vehicle bodies together, was stopped cold.

Indeed, while FedEx Corp. reported that its Windows computers were "experiencing interference" from malware - it wouldn't say if it had been hit by the ransomware - other impacts in the USA were not readily apparent on Saturday.

The worldwide effort to extort cash from computer users spread so widely that Microsoft quickly changed its policy, making security fixes for this vulnerability available for free for the older Windows systems still used by millions of individuals and smaller businesses.

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

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said patient data does not appear to have been accessed, but 48 of the 248 NHS England trusts and 13 NHS Health Boards in Scotland were affected, delaying and cancelling health service works.

Global investigators hunted Saturday for those behind an unprecedented cyber-attack that affected systems in dozens of countries, including at banks, hospitals and government agencies, as security experts sought to contain the fallout.

An doctor based in London had warned against the cyber-hack of the NHS just days before it crippled the country's network. Dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion attack Friday that locked up computers and held users' files for ransom at a multitude of hospitals, companies and government agencies. The demand is for a payment of United States dollars 300 in virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock the files.

Almost hundred countries, including India, were hit by what is believed to be the biggest-ever recorded cyberattack that used "cyber weapons" stolen from the US' National Security Agency to lock up computers and hold users' files for ransom.

Europol's European Cybercrime Centre said it was working closely with country investigators and private security firms to combat the threat and help victims. Other impacts in the USA were not readily apparent on Saturday.

"I believe many companies have not yet noticed", said William Saito, a cyber security adviser to Japan's government.

The head of Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority or BTK says the nation was among those affected by the ransomware attack.

The MalwareTech researcher agreed that the threat hasn't disappeared.

"So long as the domain isn't revoked, this particular strain will no longer cause harm, but patch your systems ASAP as they will try again". His action couldn't help those already infected, however.

Short of paying, options for individuals and companies affected are to recover data files from a backup, if available, or to live without them.

The former Central Intelligence Agency employee said it was likely the malware used in the attack was written by the USA security experts.

The security holes it exploits were disclosed weeks ago by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious hacking group.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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