Cyber Attack Hits 200000 In At Least 150 Countries: Europol

The virus took control of users' files, demanding payments; Russian Federation and the United Kingdom were among the worst-hit countries.

As terrifying as the unprecedented global "ransomware" attack was, cybersecurity experts say it's nothing compared to what might be coming - especially if companies and governments don't make major fixes.

Investigators are now working non-stop to hunt down those responsible for the Wanna Decryptor ransomware, also known as WannaCry.

The virus exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software, first identified by the US National Security Agency.

"The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex global investigation to identify the culprits", the agency said.

He had highlighted an incident at Papworth Hospital near Cambridge where a nurse clicked on a malicious link and malware infected her computer and started to encrypt sensitive files.

On Sunday MalwareTech issued a warning that hackers could upgrade the virus to remove the kill switch. "You're only safe if you patch ASAP", he wrote on Twitter.

As almost 45 NHS organisations from London to Scotland were hit in the "ransomware" attack on Friday, patients of the state-funded countrywide service faced chaos as appointments and surgeries had to be cancelled.

Medical staff reported seeing computers go down "one by one" as the attack took hold, locking machines and demanding money to release the data.

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However, it seems that many NHS trusts had not applied it or were using an older version of the operating system which is no longer supported - Windows XP.

Speaking after a Cobra meeting on Saturday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted "there's always more" that can be done to protect against viruses.

Chinese media are reporting that the global "ransomware" virus attacked many university networks in China.

"I don't think it's to do with that preparedness".

"Once we get to the bottom of this one, we'll make sure that this is available to people as well", he said.

While the number of firms targeted reached 100,000, the number of individuals who have fallen victim to the cyber extortion attack could be much higher, said Jan Op Gen Oorth, Europol spokesman.

Mr Wainwright explained: "We have been concerned for some time".

NHS Digital said that 4.7 per cent of devices within the NHS use Windows XP, with the figure continuing to decrease.

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