England hospitals hit by coordinated ransomware attack


Prime Minister Theresa May said that British hospitals had not been deliberately targeted in a cyber attack on Friday that had encompassed a number of different countries.

Hospitals and doctors" surgeries across England were forced to turn away patients and cancel appointments on Friday after a nationwide "ransomware' cyber attack crippled some computer systems in the state-run health service.

As a precaution, NHS Lanarkshire is closing down its non-essential networked IT systems on a temporary basis. The ransomware typically demands payment to undo changes that the Trojan virus has made to the victim's computer, which range from encrypting data stored on the victim's disk to blocking normal access.

In a statement the health board said: "We can confirm that a small number of GP and dental practices in the Forth Valley area have experienced disruption to their it systems which may be linked to the wider IT issues affecting parts of NHS England".

"This is a major cyber attack, impacting organisations across Europe at a scale I've never seen before", said security architect Kevin Beaumont.

Among the companies targeted was US -based FedEx.

Attacks were being reported in Britain and 11 other countries, including Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, with the majority of affected computers in Russian Federation. Meanwhile, officials with the Department of Health and Human Services said there was "evidence" of an attack in the U.S.

Hospitals in the United Kingdom and telecommunications companies in Spain are among those hit by a "ransomware" attack that locked up computer data and demanded payment to free it.

A "ransomware" attack on 16 health organisations in England and Scotland today plunged the NHS into chaos, with similar attacks affected Spanish telecom giant Telefonica and USA delivery firm FedEx. "Ambulances are being diverted to neighbouring hospitals".

"It shows just how damaging ransomware can be - and how quickly it can cause disruption to vital services". Some chemotherapy patients were even sent home because their records could not be accessed.

Lincoln County Hospital, Pilgrim Hospital and Grantham Hospital have all been affected by today's cyber-attack on the NHS, it has been announced.

"We have activated our major incident plan to make sure we can maintain the safety and welfare of patients", the spokesman said.

Romania's intelligence service says it has intercepted an attempted cyberattack on a government institution which it said likely came from cybercriminal group APT28 also known as Fancy Bear.

"Our focus is on supporting organizations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively, but we will continue to communicate with NHS colleagues and will share more information as it becomes available", NHS Digital said.

It was not immediately clear how many Spanish organizations had been compromised by the attacks, if any critical services had been interrupted or whether victims had paid cyber criminals to regain access to their networks.