Number of Australian businesses hit by cyber attack rises

Number of Australian businesses hit by cyber attack rises

Wainwright said earlier on British TV that the attack was "unprecedented" in its reach, with more than 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries.

The attack, already believed to be the biggest online extortion scheme ever recorded, is an "escalating threat" after hitting 200,000 victims across the world since Friday, according to the head of Europol, Europe's policing agency. "We are obviously continuing our investigations but it does seem the figure has gone from one to three", he said.

U.S. software firm Symantec said the majority of organisations affected were in Europe, and the attack was believed to be indiscriminate.

Experts said Sunday it appeared that the ransomware had made just over $32,000, although they expected that number to pop when people went back into the office Monday.

By drawing attention to the shortcomings of legacy computer systems, WannaCry could indirectly drive more demand to companies such as Google and Microsoft that have built massive cloud computing businesses, said Stewart Baker, a former general counsel at the National Security Agency.

The worldwide "ransomware" cyber attack has spread to thousands more computers as people across Asia logged in at work, disrupting businesses, schools, hospitals and daily life.

A hacking group called Shadow Brokers released the malware in April claiming to have discovered the flaw from the NSA, Kaspersky said.

The minister did not name the first Australian business affected by the ransomware attack, but hinted it was not "a government organisation or a hospital or anything like that". The 22-year-old told the BBC: "We have stopped this one, but there will be another one coming and it will not be stoppable by us".

Infected computers appear to largely be out-of-date devices that organisations deemed not worth the price of upgrading or, in some cases, machines involved in manufacturing or hospital functions that proved too hard to patch without possibly disrupting crucial operations, security experts said.

"There has been one incident of the ransomware hitting a business here in Australia and there could be two other incidents where it has occurred, although we are trying to confirm that", Mr Tehan told Sky News last night.

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Short of paying, options for those already infected are usually limited to recovering data files from a backup, if available, or living without them.

"They're aware of this". "So they no longer get the security updates they should be".

The ransomware appeared to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was purportedly identified by the US National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes.

"I think we need to keep a much closer eye on what government agencies are doing with these cyber weapons because they could've tipped off the government, they could have tipped off users of these operating systems but they didn't, they kept those exploits to themselves".

In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service has been forced to cancel operations today within its hospitals after computers used to share patients' test results and scans with doctors remain frozen.

USA package delivery giant FedEx, European vehicle factories, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, Britain's health service and Germany's Deutsche Bahn rail network were among those hit.

Among those hit were Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica and FedEx in the US.

But MalwareTech said sinkholing would only stop the spread until hackers removed the domain check and tried again. "You're only safe if you patch as soon as possible", he tweeted.

This is because the virus may be spreading via email attachments or trusted websites, Mr MacGibbon told ABC, and if you don't open or click on to the infected sites then you won't be impacted.

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