Widespread Cyber Attacks Hit England and Spain - Pacific Standard

Widespread Cyber Attacks Hit England and Spain

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National Health Service hospitals across England were locked out of their computer systems Friday by a widespread cyber attack, the Guardian reports. At the same time, a ransomware attack infected computers at several Spanish companies, including telecommunications firm Telefónica.

Sixteen organizations in England have been affected, Reuters reports. Some hospitals have been locked out of patient records; others shut down their computers as a safety measure. Accident and emergency departments have cautioned people to not come to the hospitals unless absolutely necessary.

The incident in Spain appears less widespread, with companies asking employees to turn off their computers until the issue is resolved. "The news is overblown, and my colleagues are working on it right now," Chema Alonso, Telefónica's chief digital officer, wrote on Twitter.

The attacks in the two countries appear to be the same type of malware, known as WannaCry ransomware. WannaCry encrypts user data, which restricts users from accessing it. Both instances have locked users out of their computers with a pop-up message demanding $300 in Bitcoin.

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