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EMF Studies

18 May 2017

United Kingdom: NHS Seeks to Recover from Global Cyber-Attack as Security Concerns Resurface

In an article published in the British Medical Journal, Dr Krishna Chinthapalli, a neurology registrar at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, said hospitals “will almost certainly be shut down by ransomware this year”.

NHS seeks to recover from global cyber-attack as security concerns resurface
by Damien Gayle, Alexandra Topping, Ian Sample, Sarah Marsh and Vikram Dodd, The Guardian, 13 May 2017

Cybersecurity centre says teams ‘working round the clock’ to fix systems rendered inaccessible by international ransomware attack

What is ‘WannaCry’ and why is it attacking the NHS?

Have you been affected by the cyber-attack?


The NHS is working to bring its systems back online after it became the highest-profile victim of a global ransomware attack and faced renewed concern about the strength of its infrastructure.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said teams were “working round the clock” in response to the attack, which resulted in operations being cancelled, ambulances being diverted and documents such as patient records made unavailable in England and Scotland.

Computers at hospitals and GPs surgeries in the UK were among tens of thousands hit in almost 100 countries by malware that appeared to be using technology stolen from the National Security Agency in the US. It blocks access to any files on a PC until a ransom is paid.

The British prime minister, Theresa May, and NHS Digital said they were not aware of any evidence patient records had been compromised in Friday’s attack, which is thought to have affected computers in nearly 100 countries.

May said: “This is not targeted at the NHS, it’s an international attack and a number of countries and organisations have been affected.”

Amber Rudd, the home secretary, refused to confirm on Saturday morning whether patient data had been backed up, and said the NHS would upgrade its software in the wake of the attack. She said data “should” be backed up, but would not say whether it actually had been.

The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, urged the government to be “clear about what’s happened”, describing the attack as “terrible news and a real worry for patients”.

The unprecedented attacks, using software called WanaCrypt0r 2.0 or WannaCry, exploits a vulnerability in Windows. Microsoft released a patch – a software update that fixes the problem – for the flaw in March, but computers that had not installed the security update were vulnerable.

In December it was reported that nearly all NHS trusts were using an obsolete version of Windows for which Microsoft had stopped providing security updates in April 2014. Data acquired by software firm Citrix under freedom of information laws suggested 90% of trusts were using Windows XP, then a 15-year-old system.

It is not known how many computers across the NHS today are still using Windows XP or recent variants Windows 8 and Windows 10.

About 40 NHS organisations are though to have been affected by Friday’s bug, which was released the day after a doctor warned that NHS hospitals needed to be prepared for an incident precisely of the kind seen.

Continue reading:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/12/hospitals-across-england-hit-by-large-scale-cyber-attack

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