Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Ransomware attack hits 200000 in 150 countries ; companies brace for Monday

Ransomware attack hits 200000 in 150 countries ; companies brace for Monday

The European Union's police agency, Europol, said earlier it was working with countries hit by the global ransomware cyber-attack to rein in the threat.

An worldwide manhunt was well under way for the plotters behind the world's biggest-ever computer ransom assault.

The healthcare centres in many countries are particularly vulnerable.

Britain's state-run National Health Service was affected by the attack.

Wainwright said: "We're in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up, I'm anxious about how numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn their machines on on Monday morning".

In the last 24-hours the global wave of attacks is "at an unprecedented level", this is written in an Europol report.

Speaking to British ITV channel, Rob Weinwright said the attack had so far affected more than 100,000 organizations in 150 countries.

Many jobs can be done using software everyone can buy, but some businesses need programs that perform very specific jobs - so they build their own.

By the time they turned their attention to the U.S., spam filters had identified the new threat and flagged the ransomware-laden emails as malicious, he added.

The former USA national intelligence director says the global "ransomware" attack could grow much larger when people return to work. A top Russian mobile operator said Friday it had come under cyberattacks that appeared similar to those that have crippled some United Kingdom ho.

"Paying the ransom does not guarantee the encrypted files will be released", the US Department of Homeland Security's computer emergency response team stated.

"Ransomware" cyberattack cripples hospitals across England
We'll note that Kaspersky supports NPR and is a provider of security services for its IT systems. It locks files and demands a ransom paid in the online currency Bitcoin .

"It only guarantees that the malicious actors receive the victim's money, and in some cases, their banking information".

The hackers are believed to have used "cyber weapons" stolen from the US' National Security Agency to lock up computers and hold users' files for ransom.

Mr Wainwright said the attack was indiscriminate, fast-spreading and unique because the ransomware was being used in combination with a worm which means the infection of one computer could automatically spread it through a whole network.

Investigators are now working non-stop to hunt down those responsible for the Wanna Decryptor ransomware, also known as WannaCry. In 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California said it had paid a $17,000 ransom to regain control of its computers from hackers.

It issued guidance for people to protect their systems, while taking the highly unusual step of reissuing security patches first made available in March for Windows XP and other older versions of its operating system.

"I believe many companies have not yet noticed", said William Saito, a cyber security adviser to Japan's government.

EUROPEAN UNION — Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, known as EC3, said the attack "is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex global investigation to identify the culprits".

Cyber security experts say the spread of the virus dubbed WannaCry - "ransomware" which locked up computers in vehicle factories, hospitals, shops and schools in several countries - has slowed, but that any respite might be brief.

In Germany, screens displaying train times at stations were knocked offline. Universities in China, Italy and Greece were also hit.

Coincidentally, finance ministers from the G7 group of leading industrial countries had been meeting on Friday to discuss the threat of cyber-attacks.

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