British hospitals hit by ransomware cyberattack

Evrard Martin
Mai 13, 2017

Bart's Health, which runs several London hospitals, said it had activated its major incident plan, cancelling routine appointments and diverting ambulances to neighboring hospitals.

"It's an global attack and a number of countries and organizations have been affected", she said.

Portugal Telecom was also hit by a cyber attack but no services were impacted, a spokeswoman for the company said. A Telefonica spokesman said a window appeared on screens of infected computers that demanded payment with the digital currency bitcoin in order to regain access to files.

Krishna Chinthapalli, a registrar at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, warned that British hospitals' old operating systems and store of confidential patient information made them an ideal target for blackmailers.

The National Cyber Security Center said it is "aware of a cyberincident".

Britain's National Health Service is a source of pride for many Britons but faces substantial budget issues and has had previous problems with its huge IT system.

NHS Digital said the attack "was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organizations from across a range of sectors".

But those attacks - blamed on Russian Federation, which has repeatedly denied them - followed an entirely different modus operandi involving penetrating the accounts of individuals and political organisations and then releasing hacked material online.

In Spain, the attacks did not disrupt the provision of services or networks operations of the victims, the government said in a statement.

"Of course it is important that we have set up the National Cyber Security Centre and they are able to work with the NHS organisations concerned and to ensure that they are supported and patient safety is protected".

The researchers at MalwareHunterTeam reported earlier today that the particular strain of ransomware was quickly spreading, spotted in 11 countries within a few hours - and that's before the NHS attacks.

"Seeing a large telco like Telefonica get hit is going to get everybody anxious".

"Now that the cyber criminals know they can hit the big guys, they will start to target big corporations. And some of them may not be well prepared for such attacks", Camacho said.

"There has been an alert relating to a massive ransomware attack on various organisations, which is affecting their Windows systems", Spain's National Cryptology Centre said in a statement.

Iberdrola IBE.MC and Gas Natural GAS.MC , along with Vodafone's unit in Spain VOD.L , asked staff to turn off computers or cut off internet access in case they had been compromised, representatives from the firms said.

It was not immediately clear how many Spanish organisations had been compromised by the attacks, but KPMG, BBVA and Santander, had all been affected.

"News (of this attack) has been exaggerated and our colleagues are working on it right now", Telefonica Chief Data Officer Chema Alonso, a well-known cyber security expert, said on Twitter.

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