Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Cyber attack concern for rural Global Positioning System and practices

In light of the attack, justice secretary Michael Matheson said the Scottish Government is taking action to enhance security, including contacting more than 120 public bodies to ensure they have appropriate defences in place. The VEP was established to determine whether the government should withhold or disclose information about computer software security vulnerabilities.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cyber security company F-Secure, told AFP that the attack was "the biggest ransomware outbreak in history", saying that 130,000 systems in more than 100 countries had been affected.

The WannaCry "ransomware" cyber-attack hobbled Chinese traffic police and schools on Monday as it rolled into Asia for the new work week, while authorities in Europe said they were trying to prevent hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.

Several hospitals in London and other parts of England and Scotland were affected and some reportedly halted surgeries amid fears the lives of patients were at risk. Short of paying, options for these individuals and companies are usually limited to recovering data files from a backup, if available, or living without them.

The ransomware attack first spread through a massive email phishing campaign with first reports of infected systems appearing on Friday last week.

Ms Robinson said cyber attacks reinforced the need for everyone to guard against future incidents. In December it was reported that nearly all NHS trusts were using an obsolete version of Windows that Microsoft had stopped providing security updates for in April 2014.

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"This particular wave of malware was under control for most of the people, but this could change in the next hours if the attacker wants to release a second version", he told AFP.

Analysts said that cases in China, where the use of pirated software has always been a problem, were likely to be underreported.

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".

"We have recently invested in upgrading IT to protect potentially vulnerable NHS Wales systems and all GP systems in Wales are managed and supported centrally, with best practice security controls".

"The National Cyber Security Centre and the NCA are working with Europol and other worldwide partners to make sure that we all collect the right evidence, which we need to do, to make sure we have the right material to find out who has done this and go after them, which we will", she said.

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