Cyber-security experts bracing themselves for new ransomware attacks

Cyber-security experts bracing themselves for new ransomware attacks

The Police Service of Northern Ireland's Cyber Crime Centre will continue to actively participate in the national co-ordinated response to this attack and we would encourage all local businesses and public services to take immediate steps to protect their systems and reduce their vulnerability.

A suspected case of ransomware occurred in a health care centre in Wexford, but the HSE confirmed that its IT system was not affected as a result.

Ireland was mostly unaffected in the attack, with Communications Minister Denis Naughten telling TheJournal.ie yesterday that hackers had attempted to access the HSE's internal network but had been unsuccessful.

"In each of these cases, the virus discovered was proven not to be the WannaCry virus, but an older virus for which protection was available".

The situation is being monitored by the National Cyber Security Centre in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Businesses are on high alert this morning following fears a massive computer virus could spread to Ireland.

One hospital in Dublin recorded 5,000 attempts from the ransomware cyber virus to infiltrate its computer system on Saturday alone, a HSE spokesman said.

Among organisations affected by the global hacking onslaught were computer networks at hospitals in Britain, Russia's interior ministry, the Spanish telecom giant Telefonica, the U.S. delivery firm FedEx and many other organisations.

Precautions included removing the facility from incoming email list and removing the affected hardware from the system and placing patches on remaining equipment.

The HSE sent out anti-virus software and patches over the weekend and is advising staff to turn on computers but not to log-on for two hours to ensure they've taken effect.

External emails were also blocked to much of the HSE, including Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

"We ask anyone who has reported a child protection concern by email since Friday, or who has a concern about a child, to contact their local social work duty team immediately".

All internet users are being warned to avoid clicking links or attachments on unknown emails.

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