Seven hospitals affected by cyber attack still in need of support

Marlene Weaver
May 17, 2017

“Weve seen the rise of ransomware becoming the principal threat, I think, but this is something we havent seen before - the global reach is unprecedented, ” Wainwright also said.

"The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries".

In France, auto manufacturer Renault said one of its plants, which employs 3,500 people in Douai, northern France, wasn't reopening Monday as technicians continued to deal with the aftermath of the global cyberattack. As reported on Friday, at the height of the attack Friday and early Saturday, 48 organizations in the NHS were affected, and hospitals in London, North West England and Central England urged people with non-emergency conditions to stay away as technicians tried to stop the spread of the malicious software.

The warning was echoed by Britain's National Cyber Security Centre: "As a new working week begins it is likely, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, that further cases of ransomware may come to light, possibly at a significant scale".

Labour has accused the Government of a "chaotic" response to the cyberattack, and claimed cuts had left hospitals "wide open" to being compromised.

Medical staff reported seeing computers go down "one by one" as the attack took hold, locking machines and demanding money to release the data.

Experts say this vulnerability has been understood among experts for months, yet too many groups failed to take it seriously.

"The problem is the larger organisations are still running on old, no longer supported operating systems", said Lawrence Abrams, a New York-based blogger who runs BleepingComputer.com.

But Europol Director Rob Wainwright said he feared the attack was not over and that the number of attacks would continue to grow.

The UK could be hit by another cyber attack tomorrow, a security researcher who halted the spread of ransomware during Friday's worldwide attack has warned.

The warning was issued after Britain announced 97 per cent of the country's health service trusts were "working as normal".

At least one strain of the ransomware has proven especially vicious. In addition to internet-linked networks, the proposed Section 44 powers would allow government and military interference in a wide definition of "cyber" networks, including personal and business computers, all communications, telecommunications and the internet, as well as satellite, utility and public services including transport systems.

The attack involved the spread of malicious ransomeware, which locks users' files and demands £230 ($300).

Though the spread of the ransomware slowed Monday, many companies and government agencies were still struggling to recover from the first attack.

A British cyber whiz was hailed an "accidental hero" after he registered a domain name that unexpectedly stopped the spread of the virus, which exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software.

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

So far, he said, not many people have paid the ransom demanded by the malware.

Only one WannCry cyber attack has been confirmed in Thailand, raising suspicion Thai companies are once again paying ransom and keeping their problems secret. Capitalizing on spying tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, hackers staged a cyberassault with a self-spreading malware that has infected tens of thousands of computers in dozens of countries.

The ransomware appeared to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was purportedly identified by the U.S. National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes. "You're only safe if you patch as soon as possible", he tweeted.

Bryce Boland, Asia Pacific chief technology officer for FireEye, a cyber security company, said it would be straightforward for existing attackers to launch new releases or for other ransomware authors to start copying the way the malware replicated.

Other reports by Insurance News

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