NHS 'open for business' amid 'international manhunt' for cyber attackers

Global extortion cyberattack hits dozens of nations

Global extortion cyberattack hits dozens of nations

A fifth of regional hospital associations in Britain's National Health Service were affected and several still had to cancel appointments on Monday, as doctors warned of delays as they can not access medical records.

Though the spread of the ransomware slowed Monday, many companies and government agencies were still struggling to recover from the first attack.

Brian Lord, managing director of cyber and technology at cyber security firm PGI, said victims had told him the hackers offered good service, with helpful advice on how to pay: "One customer said they actually forgot they were being robbed".

That said, a hacker could remove the domain and try the ransomware attack again, reports CNN.

Other countries including USA, Brazil, China, among others from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia have been hit by the ransomware attack.

Prime Minister Theresa May said it came as part of a wider worldwide attack.

Sixteen National Health Service organizations in the United Kingdom were hit, and some of those hospitals canceled outpatient appointments and told people to avoid emergency departments if possible.

Wallace denied that underinvestment in the NHS - a key claim of the opposition Labour Party ahead of the June 8 election - may have left health services exposed to such attacks. "They've complacently dismissed warnings which experts, we now understand, have made in recent weeks".

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth was unaffected by the attack.

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"In the meantime, we wish to reassure patients that your GP will be there for you as usual if you are taken ill and that you will receive the best possible care from the NHS, despite the current difficulties".

Officials struggled to explain why some NHS computers had not been "patched" with Microsoft updates to close the vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across its networks.

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The Wanna Decryptor - or WannaCry - virus sent the health service into meltdown on Friday, with hospitals in parts of the country forced to cancel treatments and appointments.

Health bosses have heaped praise on hard-working IT staff tackling the after effects of a cyber attack on the NHS.

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".

However, security minister Ben Wallace, a Parliamentary candidate in Preston and Wyre, blamed changes under the last Labour government to stop contracting across the NHS with Microsoft, instead leaving IT up to individual trusts.

"We need to get to the bottom of why the government thought cyber-attacks were not a risk, when a combination of warnings and plain common sense should have told ministers that there is a growing and risky threat to our cyber-security", Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary Brian Paddick said on Saturday. "We have seen no impact on our critical infrastructure, we have seen no impact in the health systems which is important, we have had no reports of any government agencies, state, territories or commonwealth impacted by this", MacGibbon said.

In a statement, the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, denied that under-investment in cybersecurity had caused the problem.

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