Malware affecting NHS England has now spread to many countries

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

London [U.K.], May 12 (ANI): Hours after a malware affected the National Health Service (NHS) England hospitals, cyber attacks are now being reported across many other countries, including Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan, with the majority of affected computers in Russia. The computers all appear to be hit with the same ransomware, and similar ransom messages demanding about $300 to unlock their data, The New York Times reports. The malware was circulated by email; targets were sent an encrypted, compressed file that, once loaded, allowed the ransomware to infiltrate its targets. Portugal Telecom was also hit by a cyber attack but no services were impacted. "We were the target of an attack, like what is happening in all of Europe, a large scale-attack, but none of our services were affected," a Portugal Telecom spokeswoman said. Several unconfirmed reports say there have been reports of infections in as many as 74 countries, including the U.S., China, Russia, Spain, Italy and Taiwan. Earlier, a number of hospitals across England were forced to divert emergency patients after being hit by a suspected cyber-attack. According to a report by The Guardian, hospitals across the country appear to have been simultaneously hit by a bug in their IT systems, leading to many diverting emergency patients. Following this, the malware started spreading across companies across Europe and Asia. According to a report by the Independent, the ransomware know as 'Wanna Decryptor' - which locks down files until money is paid - is a new version that is rapidly spreading across the world. NHS England said it was aware of the problem and would release more details soon. East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust, one of the those affected, said in a statement: "Today (Friday, 12 May 2017), the trust has experienced a major IT problem, believed to be caused by a cyber attack. Immediately on discovery of the problem, the trust acted to protect its IT systems by shutting them down; it also meant that the trust's telephone system is not able to accept incoming calls." The hackers demanded ransom in exchange of giving back access of PCs to the hospital. A pop-up message on computers told users that they can recover files but only if they send USD 300 of bitcoin to a specific address. The price will rise with time and the files will eventually be deleted, the warning read. (ANI)