British Hospitals Hit By Cyberattacks, Says Health Service
RFE/RL May 12, 2017
Several English hospitals have been hit by cyberattacks, Britain's health service says, forcing some to divert ambulances to other clinics and urge people not to try to contact their doctors.
Sixteen individual organizations within the National Health Service (NHS), some of them responsible for several hospitals each, had reported coming under attack, a spokesman for the NHS said.
"A number of NHS organizations have reported to NHS Digital that they have been affected by a ransomware attack," NHS Digital, a division of the NHS that handles information-technology issues, said in a statement.
"We are aware of a cybersecurity incident and we are working on a response," a spokesman for NHS Digital said.
The NHS said it was responding to the incidents.
Britain's National Cybersecurity Center is assisting the investigation into the incidents, apparently caused by a piece of malware called Wanna Decryptor, it said.
"At this stage we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed," the NHS Digital statement said.
"This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organizations from across a range of sectors," it added.
Several individual health-service trusts in England reported severe problems with their computer systems and instructed patients to avoid their hospitals except in emergencies.
It was not clear if the attacks on British hospitals were linked to cyberattacks also reported on May 12 on several major Spanish companies including telecom giant Telefonica.
The Spanish Energy Ministry said it had "confirmation of various cyberattacks targeting Spanish companies," adding that the attackers used ransomware which blocks access to files until a ransom is paid.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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