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Irish hospitals in cyber attack hit by separate virus

About 52,000 PCs and 2,350 were given security updates after the cyber attack. Credit: PA

Thousands of Irish hospitals thought to have been hit during the major cyber attack on the NHS were infected by a separate, older virus, it has emerged.

Three Irish hospitals raised concerns they had been affected by the WannaCry ransomware attack which crippled UK health services.

Cyber security experts found that they had another older virus, for which protection was available, Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) said.

"In all three cases, the hospital was returned to the health network and continued to deliver patient care with no impact," it said.

The HSE added that new security patches had been added to tens of thousands of computers and all those still affected would be dealt with within 48 hours.

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NHS cyber attack: Two hospitals still diverting patients

Two hospitals remain on 'divert' status following the cyber attack. Credit: PA

Two hospitals remain on "divert" status as the NHS recovers from a cyber attack which has affected more than 40 Trusts.

NHS England announced on Monday that the number of hospitals sending patients to other facilities was down from seven to two.

Lister Hospital in Hertfordshire and Broomfield Hospital in Essex are still re-directing people seeking medical treatment following the ransomware attack, which affected organisations across 150 countries.

Dr Anne Rainsberry, from NHS England, said: "There are encouraging signs that the situation is improving, with fewer hospitals having to divert patients from their A&E units.

“The message to patients is clear: the NHS is open for business. Staff are working hard to ensure that the small number of organisations still affected return to normal shortly."

Hunt: No second wave of cyber attacks

Jeremy Hunt Credit: PA

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said there has not been a second wave of cyber attacks after the NHS was struck by ransomware attacks on Friday.

Mr Hunt said all organisations need to do more to protect themselves from cyber attacks, which he said were "relatively common".

He said: "Although we have never seen anything on this scale when it comes to ransomware attacks, they are relatively common and there are things that you can do, that everyone can do, all of us can do, to protect ourselves against them.

"In particular, making sure that our data is properly backed up and making sure that we are using the software patches, the anti-virus patches that are sent out regularly by manufacturers.

"These are things that we can all do to reduce the risk of the impact that we've seen over the last 48 hours."

Mr Hunt has come under fire for failing to appear in public since the attack, which hit 47 trusts in England and 13 Scottish health boards on Friday.

NHS Digital: Trusts sent fix that would have protected them

Health trusts across England were sent details of an IT security patch that would have protected them from the crippling ransomware attack, NHS Digital said.

Large swathes of the NHS have been paralysed by the cyber attack, which hit 200,000 victims in 150 countries around the world.

The health service has been rebuked for using the outdated Windows XP operating system to store digital information, despite security updates for the software having been discontinued by Microsoft.

The attack has left 47 NHS organisations affected with malware in their system, ranging from hospital trusts to commissioning support units.

Seven hospital trusts are still experiencing serious problems, among them St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, York Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and the University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust.

But NHS Digital said it had made health trusts aware last month of IT protection that could have prevented the attack.

It said in a statement: "NHS Digital issued a targeted update on a secure portal accessible to NHS staff on April 25, and then via a bulletin to more than 10,000 security and IT professionals on April 27 to alert them to this specific issue.

"These alerts included a patch to protect their systems. This guidance was also reissued on Friday following emergence of this issue."

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