Theresa May confirms major cyber attacks strike worldwide

Theresa May confirms major cyber attacks strike worldwide

Theresa May confirms major cyber attacks strike worldwide

As the disruptions rippled through hospitals, doctors' offices and ambulance companies across Britain, the health service declared the attack as a "major incident", a warning that local health services could be overwhelmed by patients.

NHS Digital, which runs the health service's IT systems, said it had identified the malware software known as WannaCry, also known as Wanna Decryptor, which appears to be requesting $300 from victims to decrypt their computers.

A large cyberattack crippled computer systems at hospitals across Britain on Friday, with appointments canceled, phone lines down and patients turned away.

All told, several cybersecurity firms said they had identified the malicious software in upward of 60 countries, including the United States, though its effects in the US did not appear to be widespread, at least in the initial hours.

The NHS has stated that it does not believe that the ransomware attack was specifically targeted at the NHS.

Cybersecurity firm Avast said it has tracked more than 75,000 attacks in 99 countries.

The broad based ransomware attack has appeared in at least eight Asian nations, a dozen countries in Europe, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates and Argentina and appears to be sweeping around the globe, researchers said.

The gang, having gained access to computers, then deployed WannaCry, the ransomware, to hijack the computing system and encrypt all the files contained on it. "IT companies maintaining hospital networks can also be found negligent or at least careless, as usually a properly maintained and duly updated system is immune to the vast majority of ransomware". A spokesperson for FedEx confirmed to ABC News that the company is among the victims of the ransomware attacks. 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 the security firm.

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The NHS was shut down earlier today after reports of the Ransomware - a virus that encrypts files and demands money from users - infecting more than 40 trusts across the UK. Many canceled all routine procedures and asked patients not to come to the hospitals unless it was an emergency.

Senior officials at the "highest levels" of the U.S. government met late Friday to see what, if anything, they could do to stop the attacks and confront the potential for it to proliferate inside the U.S. One official said "American companies may fare better than those overseas because they are better at cyber hygiene".

A global cyberattack using hacking tools which are thought to have been development by the US National Security Agency has affected businesses and government services in nearly 100 countries.

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Trust said it had not been affected by the attack, but had switched off its IT systems.

The real story, he said, would emerge in the coming days and weeks, following thorough analysis of what happened. He said companies can apply the patch released in March to all systems to prevent WannaCry infections.

"These attacks underscore the fact that vulnerabilities will be exploited not just by our security agencies, but by hackers and criminals around the world", Patrick Toomey, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

Some Russian media also have reported cyberattacks on the Interior Ministry and the Investigative Committee. The cyberattack, he said, could cause a major backlog in referrals. Shadow Brokers said that they obtained it from a secret NSA server.

He said they believed it got onto their computers via the Lancashire NHS network and had affected their patient records system, called EMIS.

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