Portugal dodges global ransomware attack

Despite initial reports that Portuguese businesses were among the many thousands affected by last Friday’s global cyberattack, the truth is that the country dodged the worst.

Any constraints – particularly felt in the health system – came from “preventative measures” which authorities imposed to stop the ‘WannaCry’ malware from spreading.

Portugal’s cybersecurity centre (CNCS) has been working flat out since the ransomware attack took hold, and president Pedro Veiga has told reporters that, for now at least, “the situation is calm”.

Upset to “some organs” (health, justice and tax departments) have been evident “but only because of action taken to mitigate the problems”, he said.

Certain services – including for example the INEM medical emergency IT system – were “deactivated to guarantee there were no damages”.

Staff instead communicated by radio, while hospitals and health centres have been ordered not to open any emails with attachments.

As Veigas told Diário de Notícias, there may well have been some Portuguese computers affected by the attack that spread across over 100 countries but “there were no expensive damages to large organisations”.

Meantime, the source of the attack remains a mystery.

Portugal’s PJ police is collaborating with European authorities, but reports that it is “not opportune to reveal details of the investigation at this time”.

On the wider stage, blame has been attributed to North Korea, Brazil and even the United States of America. The latter claim was made by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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