British hospitals say hit by suspected national cyber attack

Several individual British health service trusts, each responsible for several hospitals, reported problems with their computer systems.

"We are aware of an IT issue affecting some NHS computers systems", Blackpool CCG added.

Wanna Decryptor, the apparent malware variant hitting NHS computers, was first discovered in the wild in February of this year.

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England are working to support hospitals that have been affected.

Doctors and other staff have also been sharing further details on Twitter, with one screenshot suggesting the ransomware is demanding $300 in bitcoin to decrypt files, with the price doubling after three days. People in affected areas were being advised to seek medical care only in emergencies.

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Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they had identified the malware behind the attack in upward of 70 countries, although both said the attack has hit Russian Federation hardest. El Mundo reported that the attackers sought a ransom in bitcoin.

NHS Digital says it this stage, it doesn't have any evidence patient data has been accessed.

A massive ransomware campaign appears to have attacked a number of organisations around the world. Routine appointments had been canceled and ambulances were being diverted to neighboring hospitals.

Microsoft issued a patch for the vulnerability in March, but it would appear it hasn't been rolled out across all organisations.

Screenshots of WannaCry with text in Spanish were also shared online. The malicious software - called "ransomware" because it encrypts systems and threatens to destroy data if a ransom is not paid - is spreading among computers that have not been patched, experts said.

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Digital spokesman, said in a phone interview that 16 organizations including "hospitals and other kinds of clinician services" have been subjected to the cyberattack. All IT systems have been temporarily shut down.

In the United Kingdom, hospitals in London, northwest England and other parts of the country reported problems and asked patients not to come to the hospitals unless it was an emergency.

The news is also likely to embolden cyber extortionists when selecting targets, Chris Camacho, chief strategy officer with cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint, said. The cyberattack, he said, could cause a major backlog in referrals.

Tens of thousands of infections have now been detected, according to the Bleeping Computer site, which says the malware was allegedly leaked or stolen from the National Security Agency.

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