Hospitals in the United Kingdom hit by large scale ransomware attack – emergency patients diverted

Posted 12 May 2017 18:08 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

British hospitals have become the victim of a large scale cyber attack. Hospitals around the country were hit by a ransomware attack, The Guardian writes. Several hospitals had to divert emergency patients. GP surgeries reportedly had to shut down phone and computer systems while emergency departments have told people to stay away unless it is a real emergency.

The ransomware has encrypted files on the hospital’s computers and made patient records and appointment schedules inaccessible. Also emails are encrypted and can no longer be read.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) reports it continues to receive reports of new hospitals that are hit by the attack. NHS Digital writes on its website that it is, “working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations and ensure patient safety is protected”.

Also in Spain there are reports of ransomware attacks, a large number of companies, including the country’s largest telecom operator Telefonica has been hit. It’s unclear whether the attacks are related.

The NHS reports it suspects that the ransomware is Wanna Decryptor and demands a ransom of $300. It also mentions it believes that the attack wasn’t specifically targeting the UK’s healthcare. settings

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