Cyber attack spreads across 150 countries

Isaac Cain
May 20, 2017

Since Friday, more than 200,000 victims in around 150 countries have been infected by the ransomware which originated in the United Kingdom and Spain on Friday before spreading globally.

But as Asia woke up to the working week on Monday, leading Chinese security-software provider Qihoo 360 said "hundreds of thousands" of computers in the country were hit at almost 30,000 institutions including government agencies.

The extortion scheme has created chaos in 150 countries and could wreak even greater havoc as more malicious variations appear. "The fact that so many computers remained vulnerable two months after the release of a patch illustrates this aspect".

"We're in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up", he said, and added that the current attack was unprecedented. But they appear to be less damaging than WannaCry.

The perpetrators of the attack are still not known.

However, he said that so far "remarkably" few payments had been made by victims of the attack. Three days after becoming infected the demand doubles.

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".

Experts say another attack could be imminent and have warned people to ensure their security is up to date.

Renault-Nissan said output had returned to normal at almost all its plants.

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The virus hit computers running older versions of Microsoft Corp software that had not been recently updated.

The original attack lost momentum late on Friday after a security researcher took control of a server connected to the outbreak, which crippled a feature that caused the malware to rapidly spread across infected networks. The company's shares were down about 1 percent on Monday, in a slightly higher broad market.

But I want to reassure the public that investigators are working round the clock to secure evidence and have begun to forensically analyse a number of infected computers. Some have also been machines involved in manufacturing or hospital functions, hard to patch without disrupting operations. However, officials and security firms said the spread was starting to slow.

'There is no evidence that NEW Devon CCG, or our associated GP practices, have been affected by the cyber attack.

"We have stopped this one, but there will be another one coming and it will not be stoppable by us", the 22-year-old said.

WannaCry, the virus involved in the current attack, is thought to be based on software developed by the US National Security Agency.

The NSA and other intelligence services generally aim to balance disclosing software flaws they unearth against keeping them secret for espionage and cyber warfare purposes. This would change, Gazeley said, as Europe and US computers are turned on, but it indicated the scale of the problem there.

DEVON'S biggest hospital is now "back to normal" after being affected by last Friday's global hacker attack. It halted the production lines of a European carmaker and delayed surgical operations in Britain's National Health Service.

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