Ransomware takes down hospitals, businesses in at least 2 countries

Ransomware takes down hospitals, businesses in at least 2 countries

The attackers, whose identity and organizational affiliations, if any, are not yet known, used a software exploit that was developed by the American NSA before being leaked in a data dump by a group calling themselves the Shadow Brokers.

France's government cybersecurity agency is urging French Internet users to take measures to protect themselves from a new ransomware detected in several other countries.

But the NHS was far from the only agency affected. Russia, he said, was particularly vulnerable because many of its networks use older versions of Microsoft Windows.

ANSSI has been investigating a hacking attack and document leaks targeting French President-elect Emmanuel Macron's election campaign.

"Let's hope that the attack on the National Health Service in Britain is simply a matter of inconvenience, and that nobody is denied essential care", he said in an email to FierceHealthcare.

The attack reportedly affected companies in Russia, Vietnam, Turkey, the Philippines and Japan.

A global cyberattack leveraging hacking tools widely believed by researchers to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency hit worldwide shipper FedEx, disrupted Britain's health system and infected computers in almost 100 countries on Friday.

Hospitals across Britain found themselves without access to their computers or phone systems. Some chemotherapy patients were even sent home because their records could not be accessed. "All our sites remain open, however we are appealing to members of the public only to attend hospital for emergency treatment during this period".

"This is not targeted at the NHS, it's an worldwide attack and a number of countries and organisations have been affected", May said, referring to the country's National Health Service.

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As many as 36 hospitals, doctors' offices and ambulance companies throughout the United Kingdom have been impacted, according to the Times.

Pictures posted on social media showed screens of NHS computers with images demanding payment of $300 in Bitcoin, saying: "Ooops, your files have been encrypted!"

PWC Cybersecurity partner Colin Slater said: "There's no evidence of data being taken from computers --this is purely a ransomware attack".

Leading worldwide shipper FedEx Corp said it was one of the companies whose Microsoft Corp Windows system was infected with the malware that security firms said was delivered via spam emails. A spokesperson for FedEx confirmed to ABC News that the company is among the victims of the ransomware attacks.

"This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organizations from across a range of sectors", NHS Digital said in its statement without giving details.

As of this afternoon, 16 organisations within NHS had reported being affected, the statement said.

Spain's national computer response team, CN-CERT, issued an advisory about the attacks.

Portugal Telecom (PT) has also been affected, though a spokeswoman didn't say whether it was a WannaCry attack.

The attack came as several companies in Spain were hit by ransomware attacks.

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In Spain, major firms including Telefonica were hit, with employees told to shut down workstations immediately through megaphone announcements.

A spokesman for Barts Health NHS Trust in London said it was experiencing "major IT disruption" and delays at all four of its hospitals. "It's stressful enough for someone going through recovery or treatment for cancer".

"A number of NHS organizations have reported that they have suffered from a ransomware attack", U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters.

Security chiefs and ministers have repeatedly highlighted the threat to Britain's critical infrastructure and economy from cyber attacks.

NHS hospitals across the North, East and West Midlands, and London are reporting IT failures, and a statement from East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust said: "Today the trust has experienced a major IT problem, believed to be caused by a cyber attack".

The attack involved ransomware, a kind of malware that encrypts data and locks out the user. In one highly publicized case a year ago, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid hackers the equivalent of $17,000 in bitcoins to regain access to its computer network.

Staff were forced to revert to pen and paper and use their own mobiles after the attack affected key systems, including telephones.

He said many NHS hospitals in Britain use Windows XP software, introduced in 2001, and as government funding for the health service has been squeezed "IT budgets are often one of the first ones to be reduced". The company says it's looking at another security release. "I did not expect an attack on this scale".

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