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Ransomware takes down hospitals, businesses in at least 2 countries

13 Mai 2017

The company said its systems hadn't been affected, according to Reuters.

Hospitals in areas across Britain found themselves without access to their computers or phone systems.

The Department of Homeland Security says it's coordinating with "international cyber partners" in the wake of the widespread attacks. He said consumers who have up-to-date software are protected from this ransomware. "Now ransomware is affecting larger companies with more sophisticated security operations", Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer with cyber security firm Veracode, said.

Cyber security firm Kasperky Lab believes more than 45,000 attacks across 74 countries have occurred within the past 10 hours, CNN Money reports.

Kurt Baumgartner, principal security researcher at Kaspersky, says the malware has translations in dozens of languages, such that instructions for paying the ransom are displayed in the language set for that computer.

Security experts from Kaspersky Lab and Avast Software say Russian Federation was the hardest hit, followed by Ukraine and Taiwan. But many companies and individuals haven't installed the fixes yet or are using older versions of Windows that Microsoft no longer supports and didn't fix.

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.

Officials and experts identified the type of malware as "Wanna Cry", also known as "Wanna Decryptor".

"For so many organizations in the same day to be hit, this is unprecedented", he said.

Cyberint, subordinated to the Romanian Intelligence Service, said Friday it thwarted a cyberattack to a government institution, without saying when it occurred, following notification from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Romanian foreign intelligence agency. John Bambanek, threat research manager at the Fidelis Cybersecurity firm, said that "the fact that a vulnerability developed by the NSA was used in this attack shows the dangers that can happen when this knowledge gets out into the wild even after a patch has been developed".

Staff were forced to revert to pen and paper and use their own mobiles after the attack affected key systems, including telephones.

The sort of ransom demands seen on the NHS screens are not without precedent at medical facilities.

"This was not targeted at the NHS, it's an global attack and a number of countries and organizations have been affected", Prime Minister Theresa May said. "We're not aware of any evidence that patient data has been compromised".

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Hospitals across the country have been hit by a "ransomware" attack that froze computers, shutting wards, closing emergency rooms and bringing treatment to a halt.

Spain, meanwhile, activated a special protocol to protect critical infrastructure in response to the "massive infection" of personal and corporate computers in ransomware attacks.

The full extent of Friday's disruption in Britain remained unclear.

Telecommunications giant Telefonica was among many targets in Spain, though it said the attack was limited to some computers on an internal network and had not affected clients or services.

"Seeing a large telco like Telefonica get hit is going to get everybody anxious".

The malware is alleged to have been leaked or stolen from the National Security Agency, as the Bleeping Computer site reports.

A spokesman for NHS Digital, which manages health service cyber security, said: "At this stage, we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed".

A spokesman for Microsoft did not return an email asking for comment, but Microsoft released a patch for the exploit in March.

There were no details on which companies were targeted or the origin of the attack.

Then at least 16 hospitals in England's National Health Service were affected, locking doctors and nurses out of patients' records unless they paid up.

Images that were posted online of the NHS pop-up look almost identical to pop-up ransomware windows that hit Spain's Telefonica, a powerful attack that forced the large telecom to order employees to disconnect their computers from its network and to resort to an intercom system to relay messages, according to Bleeping Computer.

Hospitals in London, northwest England and other parts of the country reported problems with their computer systems Friday. Affected users can restore their files from backups, if they have them, or pay the ransom; otherwise they risk losing their data entirely.