WanaCrypt0r 2.0 Ransomware Has Attacked the NHS – Patient Data Scrambled With Other Organizations Targeted as Well
NHS services across England and Scotland were struck with a ransomware attack called WanaCrypt0r 2.0. According to the latest details, the incident that is taking place right now is part of a wider attack that is affecting organizations across the globe. Right now, it looks like the staff are unable to access patient data thanks to the latest incident.
Around 25 NHS Organizations and GP Practices Have Been Affected Thanks to the WanaCrypt0r 2.0 Ransomware – NHS Digital Claims That Attack Was Targeting Other Organizations and Not Specifically Aimed at Them
In the latest development, the BBC has reported that up to 25 NHS organizations have been affected thanks to WanaCrypt0r 2.0. However, NHS Digital claims that the attack was not solely targeted towards health services, suggesting that it may have been intended for other organizations too. According to The Guardian, this may have been true because Telefonica, which is one of Spain’s largest companies, coupled with computer systems scattered across Russia, Ukraine, and Taiwan have also been affected.
So far, NHS staff are unable to access patient data, but this information seems to have been scrambled and encrypted as a result of the attack rather than being compromised. According to NHS incident director Dr. Anne Rainsberry, she has advised that the NHS database be used with caution while the attack is ongoing.
“More widely, we ask people to use the NHS wisely while we deal with this major incident, which is still ongoing.”
NHS Digital does not believe that the attack was intended to be specifically targeted towards health services, and it states the following regarding its involvement in isolating the end information.
“NHS Digital is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations and ensure patient safety is protected. Our focus is on supporting organisations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively, but we will continue to communicate with NHS colleagues and will share more information as it becomes available.”
According to MalwareHunterTeam, there’s a screenshot shared via a tweet given below where the perpetrators require payments in Bitcoins in order to decrypt the data belonging to the user. With the ongoing risk of cyber attacks, it is imperative that you have a backup of your important files otherwise you might lose a ton of valuable information in the process.
— MalwareHunterTeam (@malwrhunterteam) May 12, 2017
Currently, the creators of the ransomware are unknown but one reason why the NHS might have been targeted is because they were running old and unsupported software. Many systems running on the NHS network are still running the dated Windows XP platform, which to remind you has not received security updates for half a decade, making this a very alarming situation for the public.
— Myles Longfield (@myleslongfield) May 12, 2017
We will continue to provide updates on this matter as well as the progress of the NHS and other organizations.