A large-scale cyber-attack has hit a number of National Health Service (NIH) run hospitals in the UK, disrupting service and prompting healthcare workers to postpone non-emergency procedures. In all, 47 NIH trusts were affected by the attack, including Barts Health in London and Essex Partnership university NHS trusts.
The ransomware program, known as Wanna Decryptor or WannaCry, has reportedly infected as many as 70,000 devices in England and Scotland, effectively limiting the use of vital devices including computers, MRI equipment and surgical tools. Primarily affecting devices running older, unsupported versions of Windows, the program requires users to pay a ransom of $300 worth of Bitcoin per machine to decrypt the devices and allow users to access patient data.
But the NHS isn’t the only organization to be affected by the cyber-attack; over 200,000 machines in 150 countries have been hit by the hackers. Notable companies and institutions who have been infected include FedEx and MIT in the US, as well as Beijing-based PetroChina, and Telefónica in Spain.