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17 May 2017, 02:37 | Kara Nash
Global ransomware attack hits 74 countries
Dickson said the malware itself, which exploits a flaw in Windows, was not new but that adding the ransomware "payload" made it especially unsafe. "Computers that had not been updated with the Microsoft patch were vulnerable to attack".
A statement from EMIS said: 'There is no evidence to suggest that EMIS Health systems have been compromised or impacted as a result of this incident.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed it is an worldwide attack and several countries and organisations have been affected.
Experts think it unlikely to have been one person, with criminally minded cyber crime syndicates nowadays going underground and using ever more sophisticated encryption to hide their activities.
The cyber-attack that hit computer systems around the world on Friday has affected more than 200,000 people in 150 countries, according to Europol's chief.
The Financial Times reported that the list of organizations hit by WannaCry has steadily lengthened: alongside Britain's National Health Service, victims include the Deutsche Bahn, FedEx, Russia's ministry of the interior, Renault, Telefónica and China National Petroleum Corp.
"We should expect similar attacks regularly in the coming days and weeks", said Giullaume Poupard, head of French government cyber security agency ANSSI.
"We are spending around £50mil on the NHS cyber systems to improve their security, we've encouraged the NHS trusts to reduce their exposure to the weakest system, the Windows XP. and there is money available to strengthen these systems", he said.
British media were hailing as a hero a 22-year-old computer security whiz who appeared to have helped stop the attack from spreading by discovering a "kill switch" - an internet address which halted the virus when activated.
In a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft president Brad Smith appeared to tacitly acknowledge what researchers had already widely concluded: the ransomware attack leveraged a hacking tool, built by the US National Security Agency, that leaked online in April.
"We've never seen anything like this", he said. Most others rely on humans to spread by tricking them into clicking on an attachment harbouring the attack code. The virus, known as WannaCry, infected over 20,000 computers in 150 countries.
"This incident emphasises the importance for all of us - the public and private sectors, as well as the general public - to have the appropriate measures in place to protect against these kinds of attack".
Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth was unaffected by the attack. "It was clear [that] warnings were given to hospital trusts". The cyber-attack, he insisted, was not because of "NHS manager incompetence".
The Care Quality Commission and Dame Diona Caldicott, the national data guardian, wrote to the health secretary to point out a worrying "lack of understanding of security issues" and that "the external cyber threat is becoming a bigger consideration".
The Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center, a nonprofit providing support for computer attacks, said 2,000 computers at 600 locations in Japan were reported affected so far.
Sim said one big reason that Russian Federation is vulnerable to attack is its "complacent reliance" on simplistic anti-virus defenses.
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