Cyber warning to South Africans after global attack

"They have been working I know through the night nearly to make sure patches are in place to make sure that hopefully the NHS services can get back to normal", he told BBC radio.

Europol said more than 200,000 computers around the world had been affected over the weekend in what it said was "an unprecedented attack".

The attackers are believed to have used tools developed by the National Security Agency that were leaked to the public by the hacker group The Shadow Brokers in April to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows, the world's most popular operating system.

But a MI researcher who helped stop the attack warns that those involved might be able to quickly circumvent the security measures put in place.

"We wouldn't be surprised if the scale and scope of Wannacry leads to another spike in IT security solutions and associated revenue spend", said Northern Capital Trust analyst Neil Campling.

Interior Ministry: The Russian Interior Ministry acknowledged a ransomware attack on its computers, adding that less than 1% of computers were affected.

"GPs, of course, can still diagnose and treat patients without using computers but we ask our patients to bear with us if routine services such as repeat prescriptions and appointment booking services are slightly disrupted this week", she said. "Our immediate priority as a government is to disrupt the attack, restore affected services as soon as possible, and establish who was behind it".

NHS Digital has recommended a number of measures for trusts to implement to protect themselves from cyber-attack after Friday saw trusts across the country targeted by hackers.

"Patients should attend for their appointments as normal". Blackpool Victoria Hospital was not one of them. We have been working with 47 organisations providing urgent and emergency care who have been infected to varying degrees.

Another method, which preys on machines using outdated software, is visiting a malicious site.

Microsoft distributed a patch for the software vulnerability two months ago, but not all computer users and networks worldwide had yet made that update, and thus were highly vulnerable.

A malware called Wanna Decryptor was used in the attack, which encrypts files on a user's computer, blocking them from view. The statement said antivirus systems are working to destroy it.

The spread of the virus slowed over the weekend but the respite might only be brief, experts have said.

A spokesman said it was "business as usual" for the Sunday night production shift at the plant in Sunderland.

It highlighted how, in February 2016, the Department of Health had "transferred £950m of its £4.6bn budget for capital projects, such as building works and IT, to revenue budgets to fund the day-to-day activities of NHS bodies".

"But let me just assure you, we are spending money on strengthening the cyber defence of our hospital system".

  • Zachary Reyes