NHS 'open for business' amid 'international manhunt' for cyber attackers

But the massive digital assault they launched late last week could end up costing the global economy billions.

However some hospitals are still suffering disruption from the cyber attack, which hit 200,000 victims across 150 countries around the world. Moreover, the discovery of a "kill switch" that could deactivate WannaCry may have given American businesses a reprieve from the worst effects of the software.

Loomis said the company advises employees not to open attachments from unknown senders and company leaders make sure to back up important data.

Following a meeting of the Government's Cobra contingencies committee, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said more than a million patients had been treated in the course of Monday.

Universities in the US dodged the initial wave of a massive cyberattack that, among other disruptions, paralyzed hospitals in Britain, shut down telecommunications services in Spain and brought a temporary halt to Renault's production line in France.

Many people, especially those who use their machines for business, carry out such backups on a daily basis preferably on a separate drive or USB stick, which should be disconnected from your device once the backup is complete.

Elsewhere, Figueroa said, the widespread use of unauthorized versions of Microsoft's Windows made computers ineligible to download the software patches that would have protected the machines. Security sleuths are still studying the ransomware for ways to salvage already infected computers. "A request for $600 in Bitcoin is displayed along with the wallet - and the ransom demand increases over time", Altaf Halde, Managing Director Kaspersky Lab (South Asia), told IANS. WannaCry exploits a known vulnerability in Microsoft Windows to spread rapidly without human intervention.

Microsoft issued a new patch last week, as well as a patch that would cover the legacy systems, as it stopped providing routine upgrades for them last month.

"People have extremely short memories when it comes to this", said Jan Dawson, an analyst with Jackdaw Research.

"The reason why so many patients have been unaffected today is because they were ready for this", she said.

Officials across the globe scrambled to catch the culprits behind a massive ransomware worm that disrupted operations at vehicle factories, hospitals, shops and schools, while Microsoft pinned blame on the USA government for not disclosing more software vulnerabilities.

How to protect your PC after a weekend wave of cyber attacks
Organizations are scrambling to apply the latest security patch to their computers to prevent the spread of the attack. Some of those who have paid the WannaCry ransom have regained control of their computers, security researchers say.

"The WannaCrypt exploits used in the attack were drawn from the exploits stolen from the National Security Agency, or NSA, in the United States", Brad Smith, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer, accuses in a new blog post.

Researchers at Symantec have also noted similarities in the shared code between known Lazarus tools and the WannaCry ransomware, noting the SSL implementation uses a specific sequence of 75 ciphers which to date have only been seen in Lazarus and WannaCry malicious software. In most organisations, this is down to user education.

Microsoft released a patch for this vulnerability in March and, on the heels of the attack Friday, even took the unusual step of releasing fixes for older versions of Windows that are no longer supported, such as Windows XP, Windows Server 2013, and Windows 8. The NSA code was released in April by a hacking group calling itself Shadow Brokers, which had apparently failed to find a buyer for a large trove of NSA cyberweapons.

Victims are merely told to send payment to one of three bitcoin wallets and then wait for a decryption key, said Maya Horowitz, threat intelligence group manager at security firm Check Point.

For example, the hackers could have lowered the ransom price to $10, making it cheap for anyone to pay.

It was too early to say who was behind the onslaught, which struck 100,000 organizations, and what their motivation was, aside from the obvious demand for money.

European Union law enforcement agency Europol called the scale of the global assault "unprecedented".

"Just patch their systems as soon as possible", MalwareTech said.

If the criminals were smart, Heilman said, they'd have asked for payment in the form of gift cards from retail stores.

The number of local victims is steadily rising.

Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack in over 70 countries, although both said the attack had hit Russian Federation the hardest.

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