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US News Hospitals fighting outbreak at risk of cyber attack, Interpol warns

15:10  04 april  2020
15:10  04 april  2020 Source:   msn.com

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INTERPOL has issued a warning to organizations at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak that have also become targets of ransomware attacks , which are To minimize the risk of disruption in the event a ransomware attack does occur, INTERPOL encourages hospitals and

Some hospitals and GPs have been unable to access patient data, after their computers were locked by a ransomware program demanding a payment worth £230. Ambulances have been diverted from hospitals in some areas and there has been disruption at some GP surgeries as a result of the attack .

a screen shot of a computer: Interpol has warned hospitals to look out for malware as they are busy fighting coronavirus (Peter Byrne/PA) © Peter Byrne Interpol has warned hospitals to look out for malware as they are busy fighting coronavirus (Peter Byrne/PA)

Cybercriminals are exploiting the coronavirus crisis and threatening to hold hospitals to ransom despite the life-saving work they are carrying out, Interpol has warned.

It has issued a global alert to health care organisations about the ransomware attacks, often disguised as official advice from government agencies, which are designed to lock administrators out of the critical IT systems they need.

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The criminals will demand payment before the hospital staff are allowed back in, like the way the NHS was attacked with the WannaCry virus in 2017.

Interpol’s Cybercrime Threat Response has detected a “significant increase” in the number of attempted ransomware attacks against key organisations around the world.

It has alerted all 194 of its member countries and is working with the cybersecurity industry to gather information about the attacks as well as assisting national police forces.

Interpol secretary Jurgen Stock said the malware attacks could be deadly, coming as they do as the coronavirus outbreak response reaches a critical level around the world.

(Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool /Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

He said: “As hospitals and medical organisations around the world are working non-stop to preserve the well-being of individuals stricken with the coronavirus, they have become targets for ruthless cybercriminals who are looking to make a profit at the expense of sick patients.

“Locking hospitals out of their critical systems will not only delay the swift medical response required during these unprecedented times, it could directly lead to deaths.”

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A "second spike" in cyber - attacks has not hit the NHS but some hospital trusts are suffering ongoing disruption due to Friday's ransomware attack . Routine surgery and GP appointments have been cancelled across the NHS as it recovers from the global outbreak .

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Interpol said prevention and mitigation were key, with the malware mainly being spread by emails.

They often claim to contain information about the outbreak from an official source, encouraging the recipient to open an attachment which can then infect their system.

  Hospitals fighting outbreak at risk of cyber attack, Interpol warns © Getty

Interpol is advising hospitals and healthcare companies to ensure hardware and software are kept up to date, and that essential files are backed up.

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading - here is what you can and can't do. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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