World braces for more cyberattacks as work week begins

Joy Montgomery
May 17, 2017

Eleven area health boards were affected, as were NHS National Services and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Bossert said "criminals" are responsible, not the USA government.

The exploit, known as "EternalBlue" or "MS17-010", took advantage of a vulnerability in the Microsoft software that reportedly had been discovered and developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, which used it for surveillance activities. However, he said it's only a matter of time before a malevolent version exists.

"Again, any patient with a hospital appointment should attend as normal".

Carmaker Renault said one of its French plants, which employs 3,500 people, wasn't reopening Monday as a "preventative step" while technicians deal with the aftermath of the attack.

A number of hospitals in England and Scotland were forced to cancel procedures after dozens of NHS systems were brought down, with doctors reporting how their computers were locked "one by one" as the attack spread over the weekend.

About 97 per cent of United Kingdom facilities and doctors disabled by the attack were back to normal operation, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Saturday after a government meeting.

The ransomware attack has affected more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries, said Rob Wainwright, head of law enforcement agency Europol.

A pop-up window will appear on an infected computer's screen, showing instructions how to pay a $300 ransom - the amount will double in three days - in bitcoin, otherwise the data will be wiped out. It encrypted users' computer files and displayed a message demanding anywhere from $300 to $600 to release them; failure to pay would leave the data mangled and likely beyond fix.

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The NHS was among hundreds of organisations affected around the world, with 47 trusts hit. More action is needed, and it's needed now.

Spanish firm Telefonica, French automaker Renault, the US -based delivery service FedEx and the German railways Deutsche Bahn were among those affected.

The ransomware exploited a vulnerability that has been patched in updates of recent versions of Windows since March, but Microsoft didn't make freely available the patch for Windows XP and other older systems.

Russia's Interior Ministry, with oversight of the police forces, said about "1,000 computers were infected", which it described as less than 1 per cent of the total, according to its website.

In China, universities and other educational institutions were among the hardest hit, possibly because schools tend to have old computers and be slow to update operating systems and security, said Fang Xingdong, founder of ChinaLabs, an internet strategy think tank. So far, not many people have paid the ransom demanded by the malware, Europol spokesman Jan Op Gen Oorth told The Associated Press.

Many firms have had experts working over the weekend to prevent new infections.

Computers linked to the Gujarat State Wide Area Network (GSWAN), one of country's largest IP-based IT infrastructure connecting taluka-level government offices to the State capital with around 45,000 computers, are being monitored closely, said Science and Technology Department Secretary Dhananjay Dwivedi.

Microsoft distributed a patch for the software vulnerability two months ago, but not all computer users and networks worldwide had yet made that update, and thus were highly vulnerable.

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