Cyberattack hits two lakh in 150 nations

The European policing agency's director Rob Wainwright said: "We've never seen anything like this". But many corporations don't automatically update their systems because Windows updates can screw up their legacy software programs.

In a blog post late yesterday, Microsoft President Brad Smith appeared to tacitly acknowledge what researchers had already widely concluded: The ransomware attack leveraged a hacking tool, built by the U.S. National Security Agency, that leaked online in April.

Chinese internet security company Qihoo360 said Saturday that a large number of colleges and students in the country had been affected by the ransomware, which is also referred to as WannaCrypt. Two big telecoms companies, Telefónica of Spain and Megafon of Russian Federation, were also hit, as was Japanese carmaker Nissan in the United Kingdom.

Hitachi spokeswoman Yuko Tainiuchi said it was experiencing email delays and file delivery failures and suspected the cyber attack was to blame, even though no ransom was being demanded. It said programmes were being installed to fix the problem.

Companies around the globe are preparing for an imminent cyberattack as offices re-open on Monday, media reports said.

An NHS England spokesman described it is a "very complex emerging picture".

"They have been working I know through the night nearly to make sure patches are in place to make sure that hopefully the NHS services can get back to normal", he told BBC radio.

"GPs, of course, can still diagnose and treat patients without using computers but we ask our patients to bear with us if routine services such as repeat prescriptions and appointment booking services are slightly disrupted this week", she said.

"But our Vanguard submarines I can absolutely assure you, are safe and operate in isolation when they are out on patrol".

Around a fifth of NHS trusts were hit in the attack, forcing them to postpone operations and procedures over the weekend.

This is ironic that NHS software is stolen and used against patients, businesses and hospitals.

He said Europol and other agencies did not yet know who was behind the attack but "normally it is criminally minded and that is our first working theory for obvious reasons". "The latest information can be found on the NHS Choices website".

Another method, which preys on machines using outdated software, is visiting a malicious site.

Experts say this vulnerability has been understood among experts for months, yet too many groups failed to take it seriously.

"As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems".

The ransomware called Wanna Decrypt, also known as WannaCry, encrypts files on the machine, effectively locking them.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said Conservative cutbacks had put people at risk.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed there had not been a second wave of attacks on NHS trusts and said it was "encouraging" that the level of criminal activity was at "the lower end of the range" anticipated.

The National Crime Agency encourages victims not to pay any ransom and to contact Action Fraud.

The threat receded over the weekend after a British-based researcher, who declined to give his name but tweets under the profile @MalwareTechBlog, said he stumbled on a way to at least temporarily limit the worm's spread by registering a web address to which he noticed the malware was trying to connect.

  • Leroy Wright