United Kingdom working to restore hospital systems after cyberattack

Jerome Frank
May 14, 2017

Several cybersecurity firms said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack, which has apparently hit Russian Federation the hardest.

Cyber extortionists tricked victims into opening malicious malware attachments to spam emails that appeared to contain invoices, job offers, security warnings and other legitimate files.

And all this may be just a taste of what's coming, another cyber security expert warned. The software demands payments of $300 to $600 to regain access.

The Government has invested to protect against a cyber attack on the NHS, ex-NHS Digital chairman Kingsley Manning said, but he added that it can be "difficult" to ensure trusts spend on cyber security.

Renault said it had halted auto production at several sites including Sandouville in northwestern France and plants of Renault-owned Dacia of Romania on Saturday to prevent the spread of ransomware in its systems.

Nissan: The carmaker said in a statement that "some Nissan entities were recently targeted" but "there has been no major impact on our business".

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said some electronic signs at stations announcing arrivals and departures were infected, with travellers posting pictures showing some bearing a message demanding a cash payment to restore access.

Europol said a special task force at its European Cybercrime Centre was "specially created to assist in such investigations and will play an important role in supporting the investigation".

Ciaran Martin, who leads the UKs National Cyber Security Centre, said his team was doing everything in their power to get "vital services" back up and running. He said he "promptly" registered the domain, something he regularly does to try to discover ways to track or stop malicious software.

The attackers may yet tweak the code and restart the cycle.

"They told us there was a problem".

G7 finance ministers meeting in #Italy vowed to unite against cyber crime, as it represented a growing threat to their economies and should be tackled as a priority.

An ambulance is parked at The Royal London Hospital in London, Britain May 13, 2017.

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"I think the security industry as a whole should be considered heroes", he said.

"Known as WannaCry or Wanna Decryptor, the so-called ransomware programme homes in on vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows systems", the daily said.

The most disruptive attacks were reported in Britain, where hospitals and clinics were forced to turn away patients after losing access to computers. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said all but six of the NHS trusts back to normal Saturday.

Worldwide shipper FedEx Corp said some of its Windows computers were also breached.

Elsewhere in Europe, the attack hit companies including Spain's Telefonica, a global broadband and telecommunications company.

Portugal Telecom, delivery company FedEx, a Swedish local authority and Megafon, the second largest mobile phone network in Russian Federation, also said they had been affected.

While the NSA has yet to make a statement about the attacks, whistle blower, Edward Snowden is tweeting that organizations could have been better prepared for the attack if the government had been more transparent.

The hacking tool, a new strain of "WannaCry" ransomware, is believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency. 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.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said that the company was aware of the reports and was looking into the situation.

The news of the hacks first broke on Friday, when Britain's National Health Service disclosed that some of its hospital system had been virtually shut down after the software froze its phone and computer systems, causing widespread cancellations. The country's banking system was also attacked, although no problems were detected, as was the railway system.

But those attacks - blamed on Russian Federation, which has repeatedly denied them - followed a different modus operandi involving penetrating the accounts of individuals and political organisations and then releasing hacked material online.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it is actively sharing information related to this event and stands ready to "lend technical support and assistance as needed to our partners, both in the United States and internationally". Ward said he was told that the medical staff were concerned they would be unable to give him the right blood should he need a blood transfusion because that process was linked to the hacked computer system.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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