British hospitals, Spanish firms hit by cyber attacks

Spanish companies hit by ransomware cyber attackVIDEO: REUTERS
The NHS sign outside Royal London Hospital, in Central London.
The NHS sign outside Royal London Hospital, in Central London. PHOTO: EPA

LONDON • A number of hospitals in Britain and firms in Spain were hit by separate large-scale cyber attacks yesterday.

In Britain, a ransomware attack plunged the country's National Health Service (NHS) into chaos, forcing many hospitals to divert emergency patients.

An IT worker with NHS said that the problem began with e-mail servers crashing, followed by clinical systems and patient systems going down.

A virus pop-up message demanded that users pay US$300 (S$421) in bitcoin to access their PCs, reported The Guardian.

NHS England confirmed hospitals across the country appeared to have been simultaneously hit and it had activated a "major incident plan".

Meanwhile, in Spain, telecoms giant Telefonica and several other Spanish companies were targeted by a version of the WannaCry virus, which encrypts sensitive user data, reported Reuters.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2017, with the headline 'British hospitals, Spanish firms hit by cyber attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe