NHS accused of failing to protect computers against cyber attack as Home Secretary urges managers to ‘upgrade’ systems

13 May

As the scale of the security breach became clear on Friday afternoon, ambulances were diverted and patients told to avoid some A&E departments.

Staff reverted to pen and paper and used their own mobiles after key systems were affected, including telephones.

Experts say the Wanna Decryptor virus exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software first identified by American spies at the National Security Agency (NSA).

The tools were leaked on the web earlier this year when hackers dumped a cache of NSA files following a security breach.

Prior to the dump, Microsoft released a fix, or patch, for the issue, although computers that did not install the update, or could not due to the age of their software, would have been vulnerable to attack.

The US Department of Homeland Security said on Friday that the patch, released by Microsoft on March 16, “addresses this specific vulnerability, and installing this patch will help secure your systems from the threat”.

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