Nashville cyber security experts fight WannaCry ransomware

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Information technology specialists spent the weekend adding software patches to their internal systems to ward off the cyberattack virus dubbed “WannaCry.”

The virus launched Friday overseas, targeting computer systems and locking users out until they pay money, hence the term for this type of virus–ransomware.

Hospitals in the United Kingdom were crippled by the attack, leading Vanderbilt University Medical Center to take steps to protect its systems.

The hospital has close to 21,000 employees and thousands of patients.

“The safety of our patients is our top most priority,” Chief Communications Officer John Howser said. “We have an IT security team here working in different departments and these folks launched into action immediately.”

Chief Communications Officer John Howser (Photo: WKRN)

Vanderbilt hospital’s system has not been compromised, according to Howser. The hospital installed a security patch on all work stations in the hospital and clinics.

On Monday, there was concern around the world the virus could start to spread again as people returned to work for the first time since the cyber virus first started to be shared.

Vanderbilt sent an email to employees to warn them Monday morning. It asked employees to restart their computers as soon as possible to make sure updates to protect from the virus took effect.

The email also reminded employees to contact the IT Help Desk immediately if they think their computers were compromised.

News 2 also checked with the Metro-Nashville government’s IT department. Chief Information Officer Keith Durbin said in an emailed statement:

Metro Government is probed millions of times per day and are thus constantly under assessment or attack. With regard to this specific cyber security event, upon its release we immediately began assessing Metro’s risk. We tuned our monitoring systems to look for indicators of compromise, assessed our vulnerability to this specific threat and reached out to our departmental contacts within Metro to inform them of the threat and provide guidance on how to address these issues in areas under their direct control. At this point there is no evidence of compromise of Metro systems, but we continue to monitor the situation for any new intelligence to aid us in further protecting Metro’s assets.