Blood tests "unavailable" at four hospitals after NHS cyber attack

Blood tests

The health service has been criticised for using the outdated Windows XP operating system to store digital information, despite security updates for the software having been discontinued by Microsoft.

After taking computers over, the virus displayed messages demanding a payment of $300 in virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock files and return them to the user.

- How many countries were affected?

But he claimed smaller businesses, many of which he said were "technophobic", and individuals could do more to protect themselves too.

The NHS has been declared "open for business" after a crippling ransomware attack left large swathes of its services paralysed over the weekend.

Major companies that includes sixteen National Health Service organsisations in the U.K. FedEx, telecom companies Telefonica of Spain and Megafon of Russian Federation were also hit. "Anti-virus defences are useless against these attacks because they only search for known threats, not the new threats and zero-day attacks being devised by criminals on a daily basis". The blackout at the NHS was triggered by the ransomware program WannaCrypt.

The attack is unique, according to Wainwright, because it combines ransomware with a worm function, meaning once one machine is infected, the entire internal network is scanned and other vulnerable machines are infected.

The cyberattack that spread malicious software around the world, shutting down networks at hospitals, banks and government agencies, was thwarted by a young British researcher and an cheap domain registration, with help from another 20-something security engineer in the U.S.

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A divert remains in place for trauma, stroke and urgent heart attack treatment, where diagnostic services are required, at the Lister Hospital, part of East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust (Midlands & East).

So far, the culprits are unknown, as is the motivation.

- How can people protect their computers?

The computer can be infected by taking advantage of a Windows vulnerability that Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) released a security patch for in March and computers that hadn't updated were still at risk.

Kaspersky said it was seeking to develop a decryption tool "as soon as possible".

He said the motivation remained unknown but ransomware attacks were normally "criminally minded".

- How much ransom was asked?

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