Cyber worm attack propels health funding to center of British election campaign

Angelica Greene
May 19, 2017

However this did not materialise and Hunt told the BBC that, despite the cancellation of numerous patient appointments and operations, 80% of the NHS was "unaffected".

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it has not been affected by the attack but Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust communications manager Roy Probert said the trust is still remaining vigilant.

'There has been one incident of the ransomware hitting a business here in Australia and there could be two other incidents where it has occurred although we are trying to confirm that, ' he said.

The culprits used a digital code believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency, according to researchers at the Moscow-based computer security firm Kaspersky Lab. The organization that oversees United Kingdom hospital cybersecurity said that last month it alerted the trusts about the Windows vulnerabilities and sent a patch to fix it.

At least eight Australian businesses have been hit by a global cyber attack, but the country appears to have avoided the worst.

"As a result of the swift action taken on Friday and over the weekend, the impact the attack had on local systems has been minimal and today all GP practices across Castle Point, Rochford and Southend are operational with only a few minor issues reported from some practices".

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That being said, seven of the 47 of Britain's National Health Service trusts that were affected on Friday were still having IT troubles on Monday. Ransomware encrypts a victim's data and will only provide a key for access upon the payment of ransom. Patients were asked not to go to hospitals unless it was an emergency and even some key services like chemotherapy were canceled.

A virus dubbed WannaCry blocked more than 200,000 computers around the globe, demanding a ransom from users to regain control of their files.

"In perhaps the most well-timed accident in the history of hacking, one user, known only by his Twitter handle "@MalwareTech", significantly and unintentionally slowed down the attack in an effort to simply track its progress.

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) should shoulder some blame for the attack, which targets vulnerabilities in Microsoft Corp systems and has infected some 30,000 Chinese organisations as of Saturday, the China Daily said.

However, officials and security firms said the spread was starting to slow in the country, which has the world's largest number of Internet users. The virus is primarily hitting older versions of Windows since Microsoft had already released a security patch for Windows 10. Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack in over 70 countries, although both said the attack had hit Russian Federation the hardest.

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call", he wrote.

Other reports by GizPress

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