Friday cyberattack hit 200000 victims in over 150 countries

Organizations around the world were digging out this weekend from what experts are calling one of the biggest cyberattacks ever.

The cyber-extortion attack known as WannaCry spread quickly around the world due to some unusual factors coming together.

Friday's cyber-attack has affected more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries, Europol chief Rob Wainwright says, the BBC reports.

Cybersecurity experts have said the majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan. But U.K. hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms like Fedex also reported they had come under assault.

Britain's National Cyber Security Center and others were hailing the cybersecurity researcher, a 22-year-old identified online only as MalwareTech, who - unintentionally at first - discovered a "kill switch" that halted the unprecedented outbreak.

"Thus by registering it we inadvertently stopped any subsequent infections", he told CNNTech.

But MalwareTech said sinkholing would only stop the spread until hackers removed the domain check and tried again.

"We're in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up". And the United Kingdom government called an emergency meeting over the crisis.

He said the motivation remained unknown but ransomware attacks were normally "criminally minded". "It's a big priority of mine that we protect the financial infrastructure", he said.

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The ransomware, called WannaCry, locks down files on an infected computer and asks the computer's administrator to pay in order to regain control of them. The exploit was leaked last month as part of a trove of NSA spy tools. They said this one worked because of a "perfect storm" of conditions, including a known and highly unsafe security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and malware created to spread quickly once inside university, business or government networks.

By then the "ransomware" attack had crippled Britain's hospital network and computer systems in several countries in an effort to extort money from computer users.

Around a fifth of trusts were hit amid concerns networks were left vulnerable because they were still using outdated Windows XP software.

The patches won't do any good for machines that have already been hit. The company said the virus has been localized and "technical work is underway to destroy it and update the antivirus protection". "Most folks that have paid up appear to have paid the initial $300 in the first few hours".

"The numbers are going up, I am anxious about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn [on] their machines on Monday morning". But the NHS said Saturday it does not have any evidence that patient data was breached. State media reported that digital payment systems at some gas stations were offline, forcing customers to pay cash.

"The global reach is unprecedented". Russia's largest mobile phone company was hit, and FedEx announced it was also infected.

"I think the security industry as a whole should be considered heroes", he said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in a statement late Friday, encouraged people to update their operating systems. His law firm sued LinkedIn after a 2012 data breach, alleging individuals paid for premium accounts because the company falsely stated it had top-quality cyber security measures.

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