Today a wave of cyber attacks hit 74 countries across Europe and Asia, paralyzing the public health system in Britain.
The attack used malware that was created by the NSA, which was illegally released onto the black market in 2016. The hackers used said malware, known as “ransomware,” in some circles, to encrypt hospital medical records, making them unreadable.
This has deprived numerous patients of treatment, and has forced doctors to turn patients down. The group of hackers has demanded a ransom if the hospital wants their medical records back.
Fox News reports:
“Microsoft said that they had rolled out a patch to fix the issue, but certain targets, including the hospitals in Britain, had not yet updated their systems.”
“The malware was sent via email with a file attached to it. From there, it subsequently spread.”
“Tom Donnelly, a spokesman for N.H.S. Digital, said the attack was still “ongoing” and that that the organization was ‘made aware of it this afternoon,’ according to an interview in The New York Times.”
“The impact of the attacks caused phone lines to go down, appointments to be canceled and patients to be turned away, but there has been no reported evidence of patient data being breached.”
Michael Balboni, President of a consulting firm that specializes in cyber security, said that “It’s one of the widest spread attacks we’ve ever seen. We’re entering an age known as cyber-insecurity.”
He goes on to add that “There’s going to be a huge response from the public now that doctors and hospitals are being affected, there is going to be a huge shift in how people think about this.”
In addition to UK hospitals being crippled, several Spanish companies have also been affected. Spain has refused to comment on which companies were affected, but Telefonica, a telecommunications giant, said that it had detected an attack.
The Guardian confirms the details:
“The NHS has been hit as part of a global cyber-attack that threw hospitals and businesses in the UK and around the world into chaos.”
“The unprecedented attacks appeared to have been carried out by hackers using a tool stolen from the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US. They affected as many as 74 countries and at least 16 NHS trusts in the UK, compromising IT systems that underpin patient safety. Staff across the NHS were locked out of their computers and trusts had to divert emergency patients.”
“As the prime minister, Theresa May, confirmed that the NHS disruption was part of a wider international event, the attack was declared a major incident by NHS England. In Scotland, the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, chaired a resilience meeting on the issue.”
Despite a total of 16 NHS organizations being attacked, the British Prime Minister has said that “This is not targeted at the NHS.”
BBC, however, claims that up to 39 NHS organizations have been affected—they updated this 2 hours ago, which is more recent than Fox News:
“Some hospitals and GPs cannot access patient data, after their computers were locked by a malicious program demanding a payment worth £230.”
“There is no evidence patient data has been compromised, NHS Digital has said.”
“The BBC understands up to 39 NHS organisations and some GP practices have been affected.”
While there is some conflicting information, all sources agree that there was a massive wave of cyber attacks across Europe and Asia, devestating dozens of organizations. The hackers seem to be financially motivated, although this may be a cover up.