Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Government seeks answers on cyber-attack


Images appear on victims' screens demanding payment of US$300 (€275) in the virtual currency Bitcoin, saying: "Ooops, your files have been encrypted!"

The warning was echoed by Britain's National Cyber Security Centre: "As a new working week begins it is likely, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, that further cases of ransomware may come to light, possibly at a significant scale".

Mr Matheson said: "This was a global attack on an unprecedented scale and, whilst we are now seeing systems returning to normal, we can not be complacent. It has been a very strong response", she said. "This guidance was also reissued on Friday following emergence of this issue".

This week, the trust said that all three of its hospitals were open and running but added that there may be "some delays" to a few of its systems.

The NHS, which was showcased in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, employs more than 1.5 million people, making it the world's fifth biggest employer after the USA and Chinese militaries, Walmart and McDonald's.

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Dr Dreyfus said Windows computers that don't have the latest security patches were vulnerable to the bug, urging Australians to ensure their antivirus software was up to date.

SHANGHAI-"Hundreds of thousands" of Chinese computers at almost 30,000 institutions including government agencies have been hit by the global ransomware attack, a leading Chinese security-software provider has said, though the Asian impact has otherwise been relatively muted.

"There are things you can do that everyone can do (.) in particular making sure that our data is properly backed up and making sure that we are using the software patches", said Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

NHS bosses are confident that south Essex experienced only minor issues, and that patient care was largely unaffected.

Britain's spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, warned in 2014 that some NHS organizations had "limited understanding of the threat and they do not yet understand what would represent an appropriate level of threat protection".

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A spokesman for the Southend and Castle Point Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "NHS Southend CCG and NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG have been working together, along with partners across the local health system, to manage the risks to NHS systems caused by Friday's cyber-attack. It was clear warnings were given to hospital trusts".

Ms Rudd said the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) were now part of an "international manhunt" to find the perpetrators.

"We take cyber security seriously", said May, who was responsible for domestic security for six years as home secretary before becoming prime minister last year.

It said in a statement: "NHS Digital issued a targeted update on a secure portal accessible to NHS staff on April 25, and then via a bulletin to more than 10,000 security and IT professionals on April 27 to alert them to this specific issue".

The minister also confirmed the attack wasn't on a government organisation.

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