Oman temporarily shuts down global services amid cyber attack

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A number of Omani government institutions have temporarily suspended all their electronic services on Sunday as precautionary measures, following massive global cyber attacks. The Oman National Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) affirmed that some government’s sites have been affected by the worldwide ransomware attack hitting 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries, affecting everything from hospitals to schools and auto giants.

The Ministry of Manpower has temporarily halted all electronic services including the complaints system, work permit requests, commercial electronic license requests and work leave notices for 48 hours, the ministry said in a statement on Sunday. Muscat Capital Market has also suspended online trading, and Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) said its electronic systems have been shut down to protect data as it was investigating possible attacks on their system.

Pictures posted on social media showed screens of National Health Service (NHS) computers with images demanding payment of $300 in Bitcoin, saying: “Ooops, your files have been encrypted!” It demands payment in three days or the price is doubled, and if none is received in seven days, the files will be deleted, according to the screen message. CERT affirmed there was “no WannaCry decryption tool” or any other solution available so far.

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