English hospitals forced to divert emergency cases over suspected cyber attack

English hospitals forced to divert emergency cases over suspected cyber attack

The Barts Health group, which manages major central London hospitals including The Royal London and St Bartholomew's, said it had activated a major incident plan and had canceled routine appointments.

Telecommunications giant Telefonica was among many targets in Spain, though it said the attack was limited to some computers on an internal network and had not affected clients or services.

"It's important to understand that while unpatched Windows computers exposing their SMB services can be remotely attacked with the "EternalBlue" exploit and infected by the WannaCry ransomware", Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team noted in a web posting.

Pictures posted on social media showed screens of NHS computers with images demanding payment of $300 worth of the online currency Bitcoin, saying: "Ooops, your files have been encrypted!" Known as WannaCry or Wanna Decryptor, the so-called ransomware program homes in on vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows systems.

"Once it gets in and starts moving across the infrastructure, there is no way to stop it", said Adam Meyers, a researcher with cyber security firm CrowdStrike. "We don't know publicly if it is the NSA (that found the vulnerability) but it is widely assumed it is and that is what Shadow Brokers said", The Guardian quoted Prof. Microsoft previously released a patch to fix these exploits; however, companies that have not installed the patch are still vulnerable to this attack.

The vulnerability allows for remote code execution which means the attackers can install code on to your computer without your permission in other words they can hijack your computer.

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"This particular ransomware contains a vulnerability, called Eternal Blue, which was developed in US intelligence circles and was then stolen".

"This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organizations from across a range of sectors".

A National Health Service (NHS) sign is seen in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital, in front of the Houses of Parliament in London June 7, 2011.

The UK has universal healthcare - the National Health Service - covering Doctors, Hospitals and generally everything medical related is free at the point of service. but today they have had to turn away patients and cancel consultations.

Authorities in both countries said the attack was conducted using "ransomware" - malicious software that infects machines, locks them up by encrypting data and demands a ransom to restore access. There is no evidence patient data has been compromised, NHS Digital has said.

Authorities in Britain have been braced for possible cyberattacks in the run-up to the vote, as happened during last year's US election and on the eve of this month's presidential vote in France.

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Britain's National Health Service is a great source of pride for many in the nation but has been facing substantial budget issues. Hospitals in London, northwest England and other parts of the country are reporting problems with their computer systems Friday.

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

The statement said there were thousands of cyberattacks daily "and Romania is no exception".

A spokeswoman for Portugal Telecom said: "We were the target of an attack, like what is happening in all of Europe, a large scale-attack, but none of our services were affected".

NHS services across England and Scotland have been hit by the ransomware attack, crippling multiple hospitals and doctor's practices.

Spain's Telefonica was among the companies hit. Mikko Hypponen, its chief research officer, calls it "the biggest ransomware outbreak in history".

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    Hospitals , with their often outdated IT systems and trove of confidential patient data, are a particularly tempting target. Hospitals in areas across the United Kingdom found themselves without access to their computers or phone systems.

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    Major cyber attacks strike worldwide

    This is not targeted at the NHS, it's an global attack and a number of countries and organizations have been affected", May said. It said the attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and was affecting other organizations.