UK: 'Worst over' in cyber-attack

The red-coloured "critical alert" was issued by the Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In), the nodal agency to combat hacking, phishing and to fortify security-related defences of the Indian Internet domain.

Among the organizations hit were FedEx in the U.S., the Spanish telecom giant Telefónica, the French automaker Renault, universities in China, Germany's federal railway system and Russia's Interior Ministry.

Chinese state media said 29,372 institutions there had been infected along with hundreds of thousands of devices. But Villasenor said there is "no flawless solution" to the problem.

Gazeley added that several major companies in Asia had been hit by the ransomware, but "the last thing they want to do is come out in public and admit it".

And he defended the Government after a National Audit Office report in November warned that taking money away from NHS services would leave them vulnerable, telling BBC Breakfast it was down to individual trusts to protect against vulnerabilities and insisting they had enough money to protect against cyber attacks.

Computer systems were shut down across the area on Friday after the NHS fell victim to a "ransomware" attack.

Patients wait at the registration desks at Dharmais Cancer Hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, May 15, 2017.

Microsoft in March released a patch for users to remove the vulnerability, but long-standing delays in updating major systems-such as the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom -exacerbated by a lack of support from the software company, allowed the attack to spread quickly around the world.

Paying ransom will not ensure any fix, said Eiichi Moriya, a cybersecurity expert and professor at Meiji University.

"It is important to note that the vast majority of NHS organizations report that they are running contemporary IT systems, which are commissioned depending on local need", the NHS said in a statement. "It's like after a robber enters your home".

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There are different variants of what happens: Other forms of ransomware execute programs that can lock your computer entirely, only showing a message to make payment in order to log in again. Additionally, it has been advised that hacked computers should be reported to the authorities immediately, and users should not pay the "ransom", as there is absolutely no guarantee that your system will be unlocked once you do pay up. One did not include the so-called kill switch that allowed researchers to interrupt the malware's spread Friday by diverting it to a dead end on the internet.

This fast-spreading malware is the first ever detected virus to combine both a worm - which enables it to penetrate into a network from a single infected computer locking files in its wake - and a ransomware, demanding $300 in Bitcoin virtual currency to unlock systems. However, he said it's only a matter of time before a malevolent version exists.

Wainwright said the agency is analyzing the virus and has yet to identify who is responsible for the attack. Many may click infected email attachments or bad links and spread the virus further.

"But I don't think we can say it hasn't impacted this region to the extent it has some other regions".

"That's what makes this more troubling than ransomware was a week ago", Thakur said. Brad Smith criticized USA intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency, for "stockpiling" software code that can be used by hackers. Could the intelligence agencies - the NSA and GCHQ - have done more to prevent the attack?

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cybersecurity company F-Secure, said ransomware attacks like WannaCry are "not going to be the norm".

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.

Ransomware is software that infects a computer and then demands the user pay to have their information restored. Expensive, specialist equipment may not work with newer operating systems, or require whole new software to be written to enable compatibility.

WannaCry exploits a Windows vulnerability codenamed EternalBlue, which has been patched by Microsoft in an update deployed on March 14.

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