Hospitals remain key targets as ransomware attacks expected to increase

Bitcoin Hackers'anonymous currency

Eight small Australian businesses have reported falling victim to the WannaCrypt ransomware now menacing the globe.

Speaking on ITV's Peston on Sunday, Mr Wainwright said: "At Europol, we are running around 200 global operations against cyber crime each year". But that number has nearly certainly risen as people in Asia - who had logged off for the workweek before WannaCry began spreading - have returned to work. Then, hackers demand $300 to decode files, encrypted by the virus. Also affected were railway stations, mail delivery, gas stations, hospitals, office buildings, shopping malls and government services.

NHS England says there is a "complex emerging picture" of the attack's impacts, after one in five trusts was hit.

"It started its assault against hospitals across the United Kingdom and shortly after spilled across the globe", the agency said.

Experts said that Russian Federation is particularly vulnerable to this kind of attack because of its aging computing infrastructure and lax approach to cybersecurity. The ransomware was created to repeatedly contact an unregistered domain in its code.

MalwareTech, who wants to remain anonymous, was hailed as an "accidental hero" after registering a domain name to track the spread of the virus, which actually ended up halting it.

The attack, caused by ransomware, resulted in a widespread breakdown of the NHS.

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

"It is beyond anything we have seen before". The ransomware takes advantage of a vulnerability leaked last month as part of a trove of NSA spy tools.

A contract with Microsoft to update Windows XP security patches had been allowed to expire in 2015.

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The indiscriminate attack was unleashed Friday, striking hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide by exploiting known vulnerabilities in older Microsoft computer operating systems. Some have also been machines involved in manufacturing or hospital functions, hard to patch without disrupting operations.

Security agencies have so far not been able to identify who was behind the attack.

He added: "The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call".

European governments and companies appeared early Monday to have avoided further fallout from a crippling global cyberattack, the police agency Europol said.

Seven of the 48 trusts hit still face serious issues, but patients may still show up for their medical appointments.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said the government used to contract for computer services across the entire NHS but that in 2007 - when the Labour Party was in power - that was stopped and left to the individual trusts.

Industrial conglomerate Hitachi Ltd. (6501.T) said the attack had affected its systems at some point over the weekend, leaving them unable to receive and send e-mails or open attachments in some cases. What is new is the use of a worm to propagate through systems.

Russia's Interior Ministry acknowledged a ransomware attack on its computers.

Among those affected by the virus was Nissan, but the auto manufacturer said there had been no major impact.

Russia, Ukraine, India and Taiwan were the most seriously affected countries, according to cyber security company Kaspersky Lab. But if you're just hearing about this attack - or waking up to an unresponsive computer of your own - here's what you need to understand about what law enforcement officials have called the biggest such attack in history.

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