Government seeks answers on cyber-attack

Elizabeth Williams
May 19, 2017

Hospitals and doctors" surgeries across Britain were forced to divert ambulances, turn away patients and cancel appointments on Friday after a "ransomware' cyber attack crippled some computer systems in the state-run health service.

SHANGHAI-"Hundreds of thousands" of Chinese computers at almost 30,000 institutions including government agencies have been hit by the global ransomware attack, a leading Chinese security-software provider has said, though the Asian impact has otherwise been relatively muted.

"In addition to protective real-time monitoring of national NHS IT services and systems, which were unaffected by this issue, we are supporting NHS organisations by undertaking cyber security testing and providing bespoke advice and action points". "More details in June", it added.

"T$3 his attack demonstrates the degree to which cybersecurity has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers", Smith said in his blog post. "If you're not going to allow the NHS to invest in upgrading its IT, then you are going to leave hospitals wide open to this sort of attack".

Europol's European Cybercrime Centre said that anyone hit by ransomware should use the unlocking tools provided at, a free resource developed by Europol in partnership with the Dutch police and other industry partners. But computers and networks that didn't update their systems remained at risk.

Now researchers at Symantec and Kaspersky Lab are saying some code in an earlier version of the WannaCry software had also appeared in programs used by the Lazarus Group, which researchers from many companies have identified as a North Korean operation.

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Foreign minister Julie Bishop on Sunday also confirmed there was one business under investigation of a possible cyber attack.

Britain's spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, warned in 2014 that some NHS organisations had "limited understanding of the threat and they do not yet understand what would represent an appropriate level of threat protection".

He told a committee of peers that the NHS was "weak" on hospital IT systems, following warnings that half of hospitals are at least five years behind schedule.

An emergency meeting will be held later to discuss how Scotland can be protected from cyber-attack.

Accident and emergency units in England were almost back to normal yesterday, the National Health Service (NHS) said, after the last restrictions put in place following the global cyber attack were lifted.

Other reports by VgToday

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