Australian business hit by global cyber attack

Cyber Security Minister Dan Tehan warned that there will always be threats of online attacks despite measures created to heighten the country's cyber security.

Hundreds of Australian businesses and government agencies have been checking their IT systems this morning, if they didn't already do it over the weekend, to determine what impact if any the recent global cyber-attack has had on their systems.

Computer systems at companies and hospitals across the world were attacked on Friday, apparently part of an extortion plot.

"The difficulty is, of course, there are literally hundreds of instances of ransomware in Australia each week, so we're now seeking to confirm whether these are examples of the particular ransomware that has caused so much havoc for example in the United Kingdom", she told reporters in Cairns.

"I can not put my hand on my heart and say that means we are 100 per cent cyber secure", he said.

"The government takes cyber security very, very seriously", he told reporters in Melbourne.

"There will always be some vulnerabilities given the nature of technology".

"We've seen what happens when the US NSA (National Security Agency). develops hacking tools, effectively weapons for breaking in to ordinary people's computers then loses control of one of those exploits that has then been effectively weaponised by a criminal organisation that is now seeking to ransom people", he told reporters.

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West Australian police echoed this message, advising people to update their anti-virus software and back up their important data.

"Every institution, every consumer, every student with a laptop should make sure that their system is fully patched", she said.

Dr Dreyfus believed it was possible some Australian organisations were affected but they were keeping it tight-lipped.

"Because this would be nowhere near the worldwide spread and depth of attack if people had run the updates that Microsoft had provided in March".

"It might be that they're just being very quiet because they don't want to instil a lack of trust in their system", she said. At least 16 British National Health Service organisations were hit by the attack.

Alistair MacGibbon, a special adviser on cyber security to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Reuters: "As a whole nation we can be confident, so far, that we have missed the worst of this".

Attacks were being reported in Britain and 11 other countries, including Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, with the majority of affected computers in Russian Federation.

The ransomware known as Wanna Decryptor is believed to be responsible. In the United States, delivery service FedEx was reportedly affected.

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