Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Health board unscathed following global cyber attack

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's cyber security adviser, Alastair MacGibbon, said on Sunday there had been one confirmed incident in Australia, but warned it was likely more computer systems would eventually be hit.

According to the reports, in England 48 National Health Service (NHS) trusts reported problems at hospitals, GP surgeries or pharmacies, and 13 NHS organisations in Scotland were also affected.

The "ransomware" attack is estimated by security researchers to have affected 100 countries, with 45,000 individual attacks, and has caused a major headache for many hospitals across the UK. Two big telecom companies, Telefónica of Spain and Megafon of Russian Federation, were also hit, as was Japanese carmaker Nissan in the United Kingdom.

The NCSC guidance also includes specific software patches to use which prevents infected computers on a network from being infected with the "WannaCry" Ransomware.

The so-called WannaCry ransomware locks access to user files and in an on-screen message demands payment of $300 (275 euros) in the virtual currency Bitcoin in order to decrypt the files.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said on Monday that British technology experts worked through the night to patch the computer systems of the health service after the ransomware worm forced dozens of hospitals to cancel some operations and appointments.

After being asked whether there was a possibility of a malware attack against the military like the NHS, Fallon said, "the nuclear deterrent is fully protected".

"The truth is, if you're going to cut infrastructure budgets and if you're not going to allow the NHS to invest in upgrading its IT, then you are going to leave hospitals wide open to this sort of attack".

As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought the ransomware hackers, in China, state media said more than 29,000 institutions had been infected along with hundreds of thousands of devices. Additionally, it has been advised that hacked computers should be reported to the authorities immediately, and users should not pay the "ransom", as there is absolutely no guarantee that your system will be unlocked once you do pay up. For many, the phrase "cyber security attack" invokes an image of hackers performing a hostile takeover of a yacht's navigation system. In an interview on ABC's "This Week", Clapper said the worry was "this ransomware attack will be even larger" as people return to their desks after the weekend.

Experts and governments alike warn against ceding to the demands and Wainwright said few victims so far had been paying up.

The researcher, tweeting as @MalwareTechBlog, said registering a domain name used by the malware stops it from spreading, though it cannot help computers already affected.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in a statement late Friday, encouraged people to update their operating systems.

Carmaker Renault said one of its French plants, which employs 3,500 people, wasn't reopening Monday as a "preventative step".

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