Cyber attack spreads across 74 countries

The ministry said the technicians had contained the attack. But this bug has already affected many systems which had not installed the latest security updates. The ransomware was created to repeatedly contact an unregistered domain in its code.

A young cybersecurity researcher has been credited with helping to halt the spread of the global ransomware cyberattack by accidentally activating a so-called "kill switch" in the malicious software.

Investigators are now working non-stop to hunt down those responsible for the Wanna Decryptor ransomware, also known as WannaCry. But he said he's anxious the authors of the malware could release a new and improved version without a kill switch, or that copycats could unleash similar attacks. A top Russian mobile operator said Friday it had come under cyberattacks that appeared similar to those that have crippled some United Kingdom hospitals. "We are not aware of any evidence that patient data has been compromised", she said.

Europol's Wainwright underscored the point Sunday.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise around the world.

Smith's blog post did not address another factor in the ransomware's spread, one that hints at the difficulty of uniting against a hacking attack: Users of pirated Microsoft software are unable to download the security patch, forcing them to fend for themselves or rely on a third-party source for a solution.

Ransomware spreads globally, infects computers in over 74 nationsA fast-moving computer virus is spreading across the globe.

The culprits used a digital code believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency - and subsequently leaked as part of a document dump, according to researchers at the Moscow-based computer security firm Kaspersky Lab.

Since security professionals typically focus on building walls to block hackers from entering, security tends to be less rigorous inside the network.

However, it seems that many NHS trusts had not applied it or were using an older version of the operating system which is no longer supported - Windows XP.

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The patches won't do any good for machines that have already been hit.

"More widely we ask people to use the NHS wisely while we deal with this major incident which is still ongoing", said Dr. Rainsberry in the statement.

"And the attackers know this very well and they take advantage of it in a very clever way".

"The numbers are still going up", Wainwright said.

The NHS has not been affected in Wales and Northern Ireland.

"(There have been) remarkably few payments so far that we've noticed as we are tracking this, so most people are not paying this, so there isn't a lot of money being made by criminal organisations so far". "I'd say that's pretty low compared to other countries, but pretty high for submissions from India", he told TOI over email, pointing out that his stats only cover those who upload to the website and are not indicative of the total number of victims.

Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras and Brazil's Foreign Ministry also are affected, and both have disconnected computers as precautionary measure. European governments and companies appeared early today to have avoided further fallout from a crippling global cyberattack, the police agency Europol said. Fedex said Friday it was "experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware".

It was reported that the malware that affected NHS England hit companies and government organizations in at least seven countries including Russia, Spain, Japan, Turkey, Indonesia and Taiwan.

The attack has plunged Britain's health service into disarray, and affected French auto manufacturers, Russian banks, and a Spanish telecoms operator, according to reports on Saturday.

Meanwhile Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has insisted that Britain's nuclear deterrent is protected from cyberattacks.

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