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Aust firms back to work after cyber attack

19 Mai 2017

Labour has accused Heath Secretary Jeremy Hunt of "ignoring the warning signs" that hospitals' ancient computer systems could fall victim to criminals. Two hospitals in Indonesia were infected, resulting in patient files being held for ransom.

Who perpetrated this wave of attacks remains unknown.

The most disruptive cyber attack in the seven-decade history of Britain's national health service propelled a debate over state hospital funding to the centre of the election campaign on Monday.

The Rural Services Network voiced concern at the impact of cyber-attacks on doctors' surgeries that serve rural communities.

"It was clear that warnings were given to hospital trusts but this is not something that focused on attacking the NHS here in the United Kingdom", she told reporters on Monday.

"This is a sophisticated attack in terms of how it goes about attacking systems but relatively simple in terms of what it does, which is to scramble data and charge a ransom for victims to unscramble that data".

Hawkhill Medical Centre staff said their computers were hit by the virus on Friday afternoon, with a demand appearing on the screen for payment of the online currency Bitcoin.

The latest attack disrupted services worldwide, including in the United States, Spain, France, Turkey, Brazil, Germany, India, China (universities), Ukraine, Taiwan and Russian Federation. Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu cited 45,000 attacks in 74 countries, saying that the malware, a self-replicating "worm", was spreading quickly.

However, major cyber security firms are looking into clues that may connect the global "ransomware" attack known as WannaCry with programs previously attributed to North Korea, it emerged overnight.

The Malware is so effective because it exploits a Windows vulnerability patched in March by Microsoft. The flaw was discovered by the National Security Agency. "Computers that had not been updated with the Microsoft patch were vulnerable to attack". Security experts say this attack should wake up every corporate board room and legislative chamber around the globe.

At Indonesia's biggest cancer hospital, Dharmais Hospital in Jakarta, attacks affected scores of computers.

Seeming to have everything in hand, the attention now diverts to who is to blame for these attacks, with large organisations needing to work in a proactive rather than reactive manner when it comes to protecting their data. Thousands of computers and other Microsoft-based systems in Europe and Russian Federation had already fallen victim to the ransomware attack, reported ABC News.

But I want to reassure the public that investigators are working round the clock to secure evidence and have begun to forensically analyse a number of infected computers.

The attack on the NHS is still ongoing, with many experts foreseeing more problems as workers return to their desks today. "Attackers update their software ... other attackers will learn from the method and will carry out attacks".

Aust firms back to work after cyber attack