May 26, 2017

Governments, businesses worldwide brace for new ransomware attacks

19 May 2017, 09:57 | Marlene Myers

When the computer virus struck on Friday 47 trusts were affected and seven had to close their doors in A&E to ambulances.

WannaCry exploits a Windows vulnerability patched in March by Microsoft.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has said all patients should attend their booked outpatient appointments and operations "as planned tomorrow (Tuesday) after 'significant progress" has been made in restoring IT systems following Friday's cyber attack.

The attack hit one in five of the nation's 248 National Health Service (NHS) groups. The cyberattackers demanded payments of $300 or more from users to unlock their devices. The path to upgrading things hasn't been as rapid in places like China and Russian Federation.

In addition to Russian Federation, the biggest targets appeared to be Ukraine and India, nations where it is common to find older, unpatched versions of Windows in use, according to security firms.

Doctors in Totnes were caught up in the cyber attack that crippled the NHS over the weekend.

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"NCSC and NCA are working with Europol and other global partners to make sure we all collect the right evidence, which we need to do to make sure we have the right material to find out who has done this and we go after them. Computers that had not been updated with the Microsoft patch were vulnerable to attack".

Kent Community Health Trust, which runs community hospitals and minor injuries units across the county, was not a victim of the attack, but reportedly shut down its digital servers as a precautionary measure - causing disruption despite not being affected directly. That amount is expected to increase. Past year a hospital in Los Angeles paid $17,000 to regain control of its IT system following a ransomware attack.

It said: 'There were no infected computers in North East GP practices and the priority through this worldwide malware incident was to protect the NHS computer network, clinical systems and patient data - and this was done very successfully'.

The hackers released the ransomware online. Additionally, experts warn that copycats could also try another attack.

After Friday's attack took advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities in Microsoft's older Windows operating systems, the US-based software giant slammed governments late Sunday for failing to prepare, saying the attack should be a "wake-up call" to them.

But I want to reassure the public that investigators are working round the clock to secure evidence and have begun to forensically analyse a number of infected computers.

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