England hospitals hit by coordinated ransomware attack

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In a statement, NHS Digital said it believed the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor, a Trojan virus that employs AES-128 encryption to render files inaccessible.

The National Health Service (NHS) said dozens of organisations had been affected by the cyber attack which was causing major disruption to IT systems.

Chris Mimnagh, another doctor in Liverpool, told the Guardian: "Unable to access our clinical system - as a precaution our area has severed links to the wider NHS, which means no access to our national systems, no computers means no records, no prescriptions, no results".

Spanish telecom giant Telefonica and victims in eleven other countries, including Russian Federation and Vietnam, suffered similar attacks, with many reporting the same demands for $300 ransom payments, according to the New York Times. When he tried to access patient files on a computer, he couldn't find them - even though he knew they were there.

The NHS confirmed this afternoon that 16 of its organisation had been hit by a ransomware attack, after numerous trusts had confirmed they were experiencing "significant problems" with IT and telephone networks.

Security firm Avast said it has detected the ransomware, largely attacking Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan. Many patients awaiting treatment - emergency or otherwise - have been referred to other hospitals and many are seeing random demands for Bitcoin payments on their screens.

Among them was the Barts Health group which manages major central London hospitals including The Royal London and St Bartholomew's.

While the affected hospitals were forced to turn away patients and divert ambulances to other facilities, the NHS said the attackers hadn't breached any patient data. The National Center for the Protection of Critical Infrastructure says Friday it was communicating with more than 100 providers of energy, transportation, telecommunications and financial services about the attack.

The hackers behind the "ransomware" attack were demanding $300 worth of the online currency Bitcoin to release files from encryption, the Mirror and the Telegraph reported.

Spain's National Cryptologic Center, which is part of the country's intelligence agency, said on its website that there had been a "massive ransomware attack" against a big number of Spanish organisations affecting Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system.

In a post on social media, NHS Liverpool CCG has issued a warning to patients to only contact a local GP surgery or hospital in a genuine emergency, citing serious It problems.

Attacks were being reported in Britain and 11 other countries, including Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, with the majority of affected computers in Russian Federation.

Lincoln County Hospital, Pilgrim Hospital and Grantham Hospital have all been affected by today's cyber-attack on the NHS, it has been announced.

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