What is Wanna Decryptor and how does it work — NHS cyber attack

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13 May, 2017

A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley 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".

According to The Register, a spokesperson for the country's National Health Service's digital division said: "The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor".

Ransomware is malicious software that infects machines, locks them by encrypting data and then extorts money to let users back in.

Hospitals across England have been hit by a huge cyber attack, plunging the NHS into chaos. "The only people suffering are people that need emergency care", NHS staff wrote in a tweet.

"We are also in contact with the National Services Centre who are co-ordinating the situation on behalf of NHS Scotland".

N.H.S. Digital added, "At this stage we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed".

A global ransomware attack is holding more than 60,000 computers hostage.

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It had to cancel routine appointments and ambulances were being diverted to neighboring hospitals, Barts said.

Wana Decryptor exploits a Windows flaw that was patched in Microsoft's Security Bulletin MS17-010 in March. "It suggests that the group is increasing the ransom demands", an analysis by Kaspersky researchers says. There were reports on Friday of cyberattacks against companies in Spain and Portugal, but those accounts could not be immediately confirmed.

In response to the attack Jonathan Martin, EMEA Operations Director at Anomali said: "This was an vulnerability waiting to happen".

A reporter from the Health Service Journal said the attack had affected x-ray imaging systems, pathology test results, phone and bleep systems, and patient administration systems.

UPDATE-Attackers have hit several hospitals in the United Kingdom, along with major corporations in Spain and other countries with a ransomware attack, disrupting network and phone operations and forcing some of the hospitals to postpone non-emergency services and divert patients to other facilities.

"We were the target of an attack, like what is happening in all of Europe, a large scale-attack, but none of our services were affected", a Portugal Telecom spokeswoman told Reuters.

NHS Digital said it would be working with Britain's National Cyber Security Center in efforts to resolve the outage. "A lot of hospital trusts in the United Kingdom - 40-plus last time I checked - are running their systems on Windows XP software, which hasn't been supported by Microsoft for two or three years", he said. The cyberattack, he said, could cause a major backlog in referrals. The statement said the attackers were demanding a ransom payment in bitcoins.


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