Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Appointments cancelled at Newham University Hospital after cyber attack

Problems with cyber security in NHS organisations were said to have been highlighted previous year by Dame Fiona Caldicott, the national data guardian, who warned issues were given insufficient priority and health bodies persisted in using obsolete computer systems.

A global cyberattack second wave was awaited Monday morning as employees in about 150 countries went back to work braced for aftershocks of Friday's attack, being referred to as the worst "online extortion" ever.

At NHS Western Isles, the radiology system has been affected and while it has had no impact on the care delivered locally, a spokesperson said it has affected their ability to share images with mainland Boards.

The virus took control of files and demanded payments of £230 ($300) in order to restore the device to working order.

Wainwright warned the healthcare sector "in many countries" was particularly vulnerable, but that all organizations should ensure they prioritise cyber security and update their systems.

"Many of those victims were businesses, including large corporations".

The North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City Hospital, Stamford and Rutland Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital, was not hit by the attack, but it temporarily took its website down as a precautionary measure.

A United Kingdom cyber-security researcher known as "MalwareTech", who was responsible for helping to limit the attacks, predicted that there would be "another one coming... quite likely on Monday".

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Security experts including the accidental hero, MalwareTech have said that another unstoppable attack is imminent.

According to a report by the Hindustan Times, India's cyber security agency Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In) has issued a "critical alert" warning users not to pay the ransom.

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

"The very nature of this particular malware, this sort of ransomware attack, is very potent because unlike more routine ones this one has used a sort of worm to exploit the operating system and bolted on a ransomware so that it spread incredibly quickly in hours not weeks or days", Wallace said.

Europol executive director Rob Wainwright said the situation could worsen on Monday when workers return to their offices after the weekend and log on.

Mr Turnbull's cyber security adviser, Alastair MacGibbon, said none of Australia's government agencies or health systems had been hit.

The enterprise-security division of Qihoo 360, one of China's leading suppliers of anti-virus software, said 29,372 institutions ranging from government offices to universities, ATMs and hospitals had been "infected" by the outbreak as of late Saturday.

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