'WannaCry' ransomware hits 200K computers; experts say more victims likely

And the Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center said 2,000 computers in Japan were reported affected so far, citing an unnamed affiliate foreign security organization.

"This is an emerging pattern in 2017", Smith, who is also chief legal officer, says in a Microsoft company blog post.

As the effects of the WannaCry global ransomware attack continue to be felt, there is evidence emerging that the hackers are not decrypting the files of victims who chose to pay the USA $300 ransom.

In the US, where the effects haven't appeared to be widespread, investigators believe additional companies have been attacked but have not yet come forward to report it, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

With the amount of time spent on research against spyware attacks, it wouldn't be surprising to still witness something similar to the WannaCry ransomware due to the recent news about stolen NSA tools for public surveillance.

Experts urged organizations and companies to immediately update older Microsoft operating systems, such as Windows XP, with a patch released by the company.

Overall, hundreds of thousands of computers at almost 30,000 institutions and organisations were affected, including government agencies and hospitals, internet firm 360 Security said.

Hospitals remain key targets as ransomware attacks expected to increase
Russia, Ukraine, India and Taiwan were the most seriously affected countries, according to cyber security company Kaspersky Lab. Some have also been machines involved in manufacturing or hospital functions, hard to patch without disrupting operations.

Mr Smith argued that in cyberspace, governments should apply rules such as those regarding weapons in the physical world.

Former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden echoed that criticism on Twitter.

The WannaCry malware that spread to more than 100 countries in a few hours is throwing up several surprises for cybersecurity researchers, including how it gained its initial foothold, how it spread so fast and why the hackers are not making much money from it. "There's no waving that away".

Indian businesses, organisations and financial institutions largely escaped the impact of WannaCry malware attack, though India was the third most affected after Russian Federation and Ukraine. Security agencies in affected countries were racing to find out. The VEP was established to determine whether the government should withhold or disclose information about computer software security vulnerabilities. Now, Microsoft is putting the blame for this attack directly on the governments who hid security flaws for their own benefit. 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. However, as of this morning, there haven't been any signs of widespread renewed activity.

"The numbers are still going up", Wainwright said.

Microsoft doesn't support its deprecated operating systems except through special agreements from customers such as the US Navy that still uses Windows XP (It may be high time they upgraded).

It appears the people behind that attack, who have not yet been identified, earned about $26,000, reports Krebs on Security. Microsoft had issued a patch on March 14, but many computers hadn't run the update. "As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems".

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