Massive Ransomware Attack Hits NHS and ISPs

The 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 CCG said on Twitter: "We're aware of an IT issue affecting NHS computer systems".

Wanna Decryptor, the apparent malware variant hitting NHS computers, was first discovered in the wild in February of this year. Ransomware, a form of virus that encrypts personal files and then demands payment to decrypt them, appears to have infected computers in hospitals and doctor's offices across the country.

In Britain on Friday, hospitals were hit by large-scale cyber attacks, the Guardian newspaper reported.

"Purported screenshots showed the cyber attacker asking for "$300 worth of bitcoin", a form of digital currency, to be sent to a certain online address. "The only people suffering are people that need emergency care", NHS staff wrote in a tweet.

NHS HOSPITALS across the United Kingdom are suffering a widespread IT failure after being hit by a ransomware attack.

The attack in Spain has been blamed on a piece of malware called WannaCry, or WCry, as Financial Times security editor Sam Jones reports.

Hospitals are activating their major incident plans and reportedly shutting down IT systems and internet access while the threat is contained. "Ambulances are being diverted to neighboring hospitals".

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In March, Microsoft issued a "critical alert", warning customers that the vulnerability could allow malicious hackers to run programs without the user or admins having any chance to stop it. "It suggests that the group is increasing the ransom demands", an analysis by Kaspersky researchers says.

Jamie Moles, Principal Security Consultant at Lastline said: "Interestingly, the NHS takes a very strict and sanitary approach to dealing with these attacks, shutting down nearly all of its IT capabilities while it triages and treats the problem".

In response to the attack Jonathan Martin, EMEA Operations Director at Anomali said: "This was an vulnerability waiting to happen".

The National Cyber Security Center, an arm of the GCHQ, the British electronic surveillance agency, said it was investigating the incident.

The National Health Service in England confirmed the hacking.

Digital spokesman, said in a phone interview that 16 organizations including "hospitals and other kinds of clinician services" have been subjected to the cyberattack.

The news is also likely to embolden cyber extortionists when selecting targets, Chris Camacho, chief strategy officer with cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint, said.

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