UK's health service hit by ransomware attack

According to reports from users who say they work in the health service, hospitals in Newcastle, Preston, Blackpool, Liverpool and Lincolnshire are under attack. "The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor".

"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.

"I don't believe it will have been a targeted attack, but will simply have been that the ransomware has sought out those organizations that are running susceptible devices", he said. Some employees are reporting that NHS computers have been hit with ransomware - malicious software that encrypts all all the data on a computer then demands a ransom to unlock it. "Sure. We guarantee that you can recover all your files safely and easily".

"It had a countdown clock ticking down, stating that all data would be deleted unless a payment was received within that timeframe", he said.

The BBC reported that hospitals in the cities of London and Nottingham, the town of Blackburn and the counties of Cumbria and Hertfordshire had been affected.

The Lister Hospital in Stevenage disabled its computer and telephone systems in a preventive measure against the attack. Routine appointments had been canceled and ambulances were being diverted to neighboring hospitals.

This list includes East Sussex Healthcare, which has 413 Windows XP machines, Sheffield's Children's hospital with 1,290, and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust in London with an insane 10,800 Windows XP-powered PCs.

"Patients are asked for understanding whilst the issue is resolved".

Hospital trusts and GP groups across England have been affected, with one warning patients to only visit hospital accident and emergency departments "if absolutely necessary".

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NHS Mid Essex CCG is similarly asking patients: "do not attend A&E unless it's an emergency".

The National Cyber Security Centre said it was aware of a "cyber incident" and was working with NHS Digital and the National Crime Agency to investigate.

He declined to name the practices involved and said the board is "comfortable and confident" with the steps taken, but added: "We don't know what we're dealing with".

He said: "We are monitoring the situation here as are all health boards in Scotland". "It appears to be a giant campaign that has hit Spain and Russian Federation the hardest", said Travis Farral, director of security strategy for cyber security firm Anomali Labs.

Meanwhile, the Independent reported that a conversation circulating online saw one doctor saying "our hospital is down".

"This cyber attack is much larger than just the NHS".

British government officials and intelligence chiefs have repeatedly highlighted the threat to critical infrastructure and the economy from cyberattacks.

Previous year the Government established the NCSC to spearhead the country's defences.

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