A massive ransomware attack, which security researchers said used a Windows exploit first developed by the United States National Security Agency, shut down computer systems across several countries, including India, Friday night.
According to anti-virus provider Kaspersky, there were at least 45,000 attacks in 74 countries. The numbers were an initial estimate and were expected to go up.
The attack made headlines for targeting hospitals in the United Kingdom. Hospitals and doctors’ surgeries across England were forced to turn away patients and cancel appointments on Friday after a nationwide ‘ransomware’ cyber attack crippled some computer systems in the state-run health service.
A ransomware attack infects individual computers with a malware that blocks access to all data on the system de-blocks only after the computer user/owner agrees to pay a ransom, usually in bitcoin.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has called the cyber attack a part of a wider “international attack.” In a press briefing, May said that although a number of countries and organisations have been affected by the cyber attack “ransomware,” but there is no evidence that patient data has been compromised.
She added that the national cyber security centre is working closely with National Health Service Digital to ensure that they support all the organisations concerned and they protect patient safety.