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Waterloo security alert: Hundreds evacuated from the Old Vic theatre after ‘bomb scare’

Scores of people have been evacuated from a central London theatre following a “security alert”. Police confirmed that the Old Vic, near Waterloo station, was evacuated on Saturday afternoon, with people also told to leave nearby pubs and restaurants. Pictures have emerged on social media of people leaving the theatre and a police cordon blocking nearby roads.

Star Wars actor John Boyega is playing the leading role in play Woyzeck at the theatre. One visiter to the theatre told the Standard he had heard from officers that the play was evacuated due to a “bomb scare” following a phone call to staff. A Met Police spokeswoman said: “Police were called at 14:38pm on Saturday, May 27, to The Cut, Waterloo, to a report of a security alert at a theatre.

“The theatre took the decision to evacuate the building.

“Road closures have been put in place.

“Specialist officers are on scene.”

People have reported being sent to nearby Imperial War Museum gardens alongside the play’s cast while the building is being searched. Liam Joseph, 21, was in the crowds when he saw two production managers come to stop the play. He told the Standard: “I think I was one step ahead and I started to panic when I saw them come onto the stage.”

He added: “You start looking at the emergency exits and start planning things yourself.

“I spotted flashlights to my front and to my right and thought this can’t be good .

I saw that and thought – okay, something’s happening.”

He said the cast calmly left the stage and followed the theatre-goers out to the Imperial War Museum, praising staff for their “brilliant” reaction to the treat. Theatregoers have reportedly been told the play may restart after the building is thoroughly searched by officers. He went on: “I’m with my girlfriend and we’re not not too keen on going back actually.

This page is being updated.

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Security minister: 15000 people investigated over terror threat

The security services have investigated 15,000 people as they seek to protect Britain from a massive terror threat, a minister revealed today. Security minister Ben Wallace admitted there were valid questions about whether MI5 or the police could have done more to stop suicide bomber Salman Abedi1 from carrying out the Manchester atrocity. However, he insisted there was no failure by the security services and denied they lacked resources despite the number of police officers being cut by thousands . At least one leading expert has challenged this view.

Mr Wallace also accused Jeremy Corbyn of crassly timed comments after the Labour leader used a speech today to link Britain s foreign policy with terrorist attacks in the UK. Speaking in central London, Mr Corbyn argued: We must be brave enough to admit the War on Terror is simply not working . We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism. However, Mr Wallace said: Now is not the time to decide to use this event to attack foreign policy decisions .

He insisted that Islamist extremists were launching terror strikes because they hate what we stand for, they hate our society . Up to 500 investigations are being carried out by the security services into around 3,000 individuals. Ben Wallace admitted there were valid questions about whether MI5 or the police could have done more to stop suicide bomber Salman Abedi (PA)

Below the 3,000 is another 12,000 people who have in the past come to our attention and who have not necessarily shown signs of doing anything at all or no longer posing a risk, Mr Wallace told BBC radio.

He rejected criticism from Labour and some police figures that cutting officer numbers by 19,000 was making the UK less safe, and said funding for the security and intelligence services had been increased by 20 per cent to 15.2 billion. Police and security chiefs have been accused of missing chances to stop Abedi, amid claims he was reported several times to the authorities. Professor Michael Clarke, who was director general of the Royal United Services Institute until 2015, said most terrorism could not be prevented, but added: In this case there is a lot of evidence that Abedi and his family and friends were well known to different parts of the security services and police networks and there was a failure to join the dots.

Mr Wallace also signalled new laws to force internet and social media companies such as Facebook and YouTube to swiftly take down material that could encourage terrorism. At a G7 meeting in Sicily, Italy, Theresa May was due to say: The fight is moving from the battlefield to the internet . Corporations can do more.

Indeed, they have a social responsibility to now step up their efforts to remove harmful content from their networks.

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Cyber attack’s spread slows; security stocks gain

By Guy Faulconbridge and Dustin Volz12 | LONDON/WASHINGTON

LONDON/WASHINGTON The global WannaCry “ransomware” cyber attack spread more slowly on Monday with no major infections reported, as attention shifted to investment and government policy implications of lax cyber security.

There were 213,000 infected machines in 112 countries as of 1000 GMT on Monday, according to Czech security firm Avast, making it one of the largest coordinated attacks to hit computers across the world.

The countries most affected by WannaCry were the same as Friday: Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine and India, Avast’s data showed.

The number of infections has fallen dramatically since Friday s peak when more than 9,000 computers were being hit per hour . By afternoon on the U.S East Coast, new infections had fallen to the low hundreds of machines and continue to decline, Avast said.

Earlier on Monday, Chinese traffic police and schools reported they had been targeted as the attack rolled into Asia for the new work week, but no there were no major disruptions.

Authorities in Europe and the United States turned their attention to preventing hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.

Tom Bossert, U.S . President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser, said people “should be thinking about this as an attack that for right now we have under control, but as an attack that represents an extremely serious threat,” speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” show.

Shares in firms that provide cyber security services jumped on the prospect of companies and governments spending more money on defenses, led by Israel’s Cyren Ltd (CYRN.O) and U.S . firm FireEye Inc (FEYE.O)..

Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) rose 2.8 percent, making it the leading gainer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was up more than 100 points in afternoon trading, as investors focused more on opportunities the attack presented rather than the risk it posed to corporations.

The perpetrators of the attack are still not known . Bossert said that while U.S . officials had not ruled out the possibility that it was a “state action,” he said it appeared to be criminal, given the ransom requests.

Some victims were ignoring official advice and paying the $300 ransom demanded by the cyber criminals to unlock their computers, which was due to double to $600 on Monday for computers hit by Friday’s first wave.

So far only a few victims of the attack appeared to have paid, based on publicly available bitcoin accounts on the web, where victims have been instructed to pay.

The initial ransom demand was $300 per machine . Three days after becoming infected the demand doubles . Starting on Monday, the first victims began facing demands of $600 to unlock their machines.

This coming Friday, victims face being locked out of their computers permanently if they fail to pay the $600 ransom, said Tom Robinson, co-founder of Elliptic, a London-based private security company that investigates ransomware attacks.

As of 1400 GMT, the total value of funds paid into anonymous bitcoin wallets the hackers are using stood at just $55,169, from 209 payments, according to calculations made by Reuters using publicly available data.

Brian Lord, managing director of cyber and technology at cyber security firm PGI, said victims had told him “the customer service provided by the criminals is second-to-none,” with helpful advice on how to pay: “One customer said they actually forgot they were being robbed.”

Companies and governments spent the weekend upgrading software to limit the spread of the virus . Monday was the first big test for Asia, where offices had already mostly been closed for the weekend before the attack first arrived.

Renault-Nissan (RENA.PA) (7201.T) said output had returned to normal at nearly all its plants . PSA Group (PEUP.PA), Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI), Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), Daimler (DAIGn.DE), Toyota (7203.T) and Honda (7267.T) said their plants were unaffected.

British media were hailing as a hero a 22-year-old computer security whiz who appeared to have helped stop the attack from spreading by discovering a “kill switch” – an internet address which halted the virus when activated.

Individual European countries and the United States saw infections at a rate of only 10 percent to 20 percent of the most affected countries, according to the researcher who stumbled on the kill switch.

The virus hit computers running older versions of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) software that had not been recently updated . Microsoft released patches last month and on Friday to fix a vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across networks . The company’s shares were down about 1 percent on Monday, in a slightly higher broad market.

Infected computers appear to be largely out-of-date devices . Some have also been machines involved in manufacturing or hospital functions, difficult to patch without disrupting operations.

Graphic on cyber attack


The U.S . Senate Intelligence Committee is monitoring the attack and expects to receive a briefing in the coming days from the Trump administration, a panel aide said.

In a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft President Brad Smith confirmed what researchers had already widely concluded: the attack made use of a hacking tool built by the U.S . National Security Agency that had leaked online in April.

He poured fuel on a long-running debate over how government intelligence services should balance their desire to keep software flaws secret – in order to conduct espionage and cyber warfare – against sharing those flaws with technology companies to better secure the internet.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting the technology’s link to the U.S . spy service, said it should be “discussed immediately on a serious political level.”

“Once they’re let out of the lamp, genies of this kind, especially those created by intelligence services, can later do damage to their authors and creators,” he said.

In Britain, where the virus first raised global alarm when it caused hospitals to divert ambulances on Friday, it gained traction as a political issue just weeks before a general election . The opposition Labour Party accused the Conservative government of leaving the National Health Service (NHS) vulnerable.

“The government’s response has been chaotic,” the British Labour Party’s health spokesman Jon Ashworth said. “If you’re not going to allow the NHS to invest in upgrading its IT, then you are going to leave hospitals wide open to this sort of attack.”

Britain’s NHS is the world’s fifth-largest employer after the U.S . and Chinese militaries, Wal-Mart Stores and McDonald’s . The government says that under a previous Labour administration the trusts that run local hospitals were given responsibility to manage their own computer systems.

Asked if the government had ignored warnings over the NHS being at risk from cyber attack, Prime Minister Theresa May told Sky News: “No . It was clear (that) warnings were given to hospital trusts.”

British health minister Jeremy Hunt said on Monday it was “encouraging” that a predicted second spike of attacks had not occurred, but the ransomware was a warning to public and private organizations.


China appeared over the weekend to have been particularly vulnerable, raising worries about how well the world’s second-largest economy would cope . However, officials and security firms said the spread was starting to slow.

“The growth rate of infected institutions on Monday has slowed significantly compared to the previous two days,” said Chinese Internet security company Qihoo 360.

An official from Cybersecurity Administration China (CAC) told local media on Monday the ransomware had affected industry and government computer systems but the spread was slowing.

Energy giant PetroChina (601857.SS) said payment systems at some petrol stations were hit although it had restored most of the systems.

Elsewhere in Asia, Conglomerate Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) said the attack had affected its systems over the weekend, leaving them unable to receive and send emails or open attachments in some cases.

At Indonesia s biggest cancer hospital, Dharmais Hospital in Jakarta, attacks affected scores of computers . By late morning, some people were still manually filling out forms, but 70 percent of systems were online.

India’s government said it received only a few reports of attacks and urged those hit not to pay any ransom . No major Indian corporations reported disrupted operations.

(Additional reporting by Cate Cadell, Jemima Kelly, Eric Auchard and Tim Ahmann; Writing by Peter Graff and Nick Zieminski; Editing by Peter Millership and Bill Rigby)


  1. ^ Guy Faulconbridge (
  2. ^ Dustin Volz (
  3. ^ (