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Re­cent ran­somware at­tack hit much harder than ini­tial es­ti­mates; NHS fa­cil­i­ties, two U.S. health­care sys­tems are among its vic­tims.

Health Data Management - - INSIDE - —Greg Sla­bod­kin

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Ef­fects of the Wan­naCry ran­somware at­tack lin­gered long past the ini­tial at­tack, with some or­ga­ni­za­tions still deal­ing with the af­ter­ef­fects weeks later. Some 1 mil­lion to 2 mil­lion com­puter sys­tems were com­pro­mised by the global Wan­naCry ran­somware at­tack in mid-May, with vic­tims in­clud­ing the Na­tional Health Ser­vice of the United King­dom and at least two hos­pi­tal sys­tems in the United States. The mal­ware, which hit com­puter sys­tems world­wide, is be­lieved to have in­fected five to 10 times as many sys­tems as ex­perts es­ti­mated in the early days of the at­tack, an ex­pert told mem­bers of Congress in June.

Wan­naCry first ap­peared in Europe and Asia on May 12 and spread glob­ally. An em­ployee of Kryp­tos Logic in the U.K. stopped the worm at­tack by reg­is­ter­ing a do­main as­so­ci­ated with it, tes­ti­fied Kryp­tos CEO Salim Neino at a joint hear­ing of the House Over­sight and Re­search and Tech­nol­ogy sub­com­mit­tees.

More than a month af­ter the at­tack, Kryp­tos Logic had mit­i­gated more than 60 mil­lion Wan­naCry in­fec­tion at­tempts world­wide, with about 7 mil­lion of those from the U.S. The ven­dor es­ti­mated that those in­fec­tions could have im­pacted 10 mil­lion to 15 mil­lion unique sys­tems had they not been stopped, Neino con­tended.

The largest at­tack oc­curred nearly three weeks af­ter the mal­ware ap­peared, “on June 8 and 9 on a well-funded hos­pi­tal in the east coast of the United States,” Neino added. “An­other hos­pi­tal was also hit on May 30 in an­other part of the coun­try.”

Neino did not iden­tify ei­ther sys­tem in his re­marks. His tes­ti­mony matches in­for­ma­tion con­tained in a Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices alert is­sued in early June no­ti­fy­ing the health­care in­dus­try that the agency was aware of two large mul­ti­state hos­pi­tal sys­tems that were “con­tin­u­ing to face sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges to op­er­a­tions be­cause of the Wan­naCry mal­ware.”

Although Wan­naCry dis­rupted hos­pi­tals, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and other or­ga­ni­za­tions glob­ally, the U.S. in­fec­tion rate was lower than that ex­pe­ri­enced else­where in the world.

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