Europe warns of more attacks, WannaCry spreads to Asia

It has attacked hundreds of thousands of computers, security experts say, from hospital systems in the United Kingdom and a telecom company in Spain to universities and large companies in Asia.

The full extent of the damage from the cyberattack felt in 150 countries was unclear and could worsen if more malicious variations of the online extortion scheme appear.

A day after a massive ransomeware attack hit almost 100 countries, including India, terrifying details were slowly emerging on Saturday as computers from hospitals in Britain to police stations in Andhra Pradesh were hacked into, keeping cyber security experts on tenterhooks.

Tayo Dada, a Christian and ex-hacker who now runs Managed IT Services, told Premier: "There is definitely a massive, exponential rise in the number of hacking attacks. but, unfortunately, people are not taking the proactive steps in order to ensure they are being a lot more suspicious about what files they're opening and how they secure their networks".

Cybersecurity experts say the unknown hackers who launched this weekend's "ransomware" attacks used a vulnerability that was exposed in NSA documents leaked online. 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.

State media said 29,372 institutions in China had been infected, along with hundreds of thousands of devices.

In Japan, companies such as Hitachi and Nissan reported problems but said their operations had not been seriously affected.

Microsoft also issued a security patch for older Windows operating systems that are no longer supported: Windows Server 2003 SP2 x64, Windows Server 2003 SP2 x86, Windows XP SP2 x64, Windows XP SP3 x86, Windows XP Embedded SP3 x86, Windows 8 x86 and Windows 8 x64 directly from Microsoft.

In Indonesia, the malware locked patient files on computers in two hospitals in the capital, Jakarta, causing delays. Smith said that Microsoft has been "working around the clock since Friday to help all our customers who have been affected by this incident", and we'll let you know if we learn anything new about the cyberattack.

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But ultimately I have to take responsibility for those mistakes. "If I thought about it every day, I'd just sit around and cry". The counts included: bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets and false bankruptcy declarations.

But Europol warns that paying up doesn't guarantee that you'll get everything back.

Patients arriving at Dharmais Cancer Hospital had to wait several hours while staff worked with paper records.

It locks up Windows users' computers, and asks for a $300 ransom to unlock them, paid in bitcoin.

Ryan Kalember, senior vice-president at Proofpoint Inc., which helped stop its spread, said the version without a kill switch could spread.

In China, the world's second-largest economy, energy giant PetroChina said payment systems at some of its petrol stations were hit, although it had been able to restore most of the systems.

He said most computer "hackers" were wrongly portrayed as criminals, when in fact many of them wanted to test their skills against computer systems to expose flaws and weaknesses.

The governments of the world need to treat Friday's cyber attack as a wake up call and take a different approach to prevent cyber attacks, writes Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft, in his blog. The ransomware infects victims by exploiting a Microsoft Windows vulnerability described and fixed in "Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010".

"Right now, just about every IT department has been working all weekend rolling this out", said Dan Wire, spokesman at Fireeye Security.

This does indicate that attacks, both from the WannaCry authors and other cybercriminals, will likely continue and, despite patches being available, many systems will likely remain vulnerable for some time to come.

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