A major cyber attack on NHS hospitals continued to cause chaos for London patients and medical staff on Sunday after it wreaked havoc on their computer systems.
Six Trusts continued to be affected by the attack that reportedly struck up to 70,000 devices across the health service. At the Royal London, which has one of the busiest A&E wards in the country, medical equipment is said to have failed as the virus spread from computer terminals to the apparatus they had.
A message that appeared on a computer at a NHS trust.
“I tried logging in but got a blue screen saying the computer needed shutting down to protect itself,” an anonymous medic told the newspaper. “I went back to theater and was sending a patient but got word that senior management had decided to suspend all elective surgeries and that the system we use to order tests, see results, track patient location, document theater records.
The ransomware attack locked the hospital staff out of devices and equipment and threatened to wipe their data unless hundreds and thousands of pounds in the cyber currency known as bitcoin were paid out. An international effort was underway to track down the criminals behind all this unprecedented attack that wreaked havoc up and down the country.
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Investigators are now working non-stop to hunt down those responsible for the Wanna Decryptor ransomware, also known as Wanna-cry. The health authorities are racing to upgrade security software as these hackers could exploit and disrupt the same vulnerability with a new virus. There have been calls for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the major incident, with the Government and NHS chiefs facing questions over their preparedness and the robustness of vital systems.
Oliver Gower, of the UK’s National Crime Agency, said: “These cyber criminals may believe that they are anonymous but we will use all the tools at our disposal to bring them down. A British cyber whiz was hailed an “accidental hero” after he registered a domain name that unexpectedly stopped the spread of the virus, which exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software.
The anonymous specialist, known as “Malware-tech”, is said to have prevented more than 100,000 computers across the globe from being infected. Bart’s Health NHS Trust cancelled all its planned surgeries after this cyber attack.