Where the global cyberattack has hit hardest

15 May, 2017, 00:41 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Cyber attack hits 200000 in at least 150 countries: Europol

The unprecedented global ransomware cyberattack has hit more than 200,000 victims in more than 150 countries, says Europol executive director Rob Wainwright.

The attack has plunged Britain's health service into disarray, and affected French auto manufacturers, Russian banks, and a Spanish telecoms operator, according to reports on Saturday.

French carmaker Renault said this morning it was among those hit by the global ransomware cyber attack that has infected tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries.

The anonymous researcher who managed to slow the original attack on Friday also told the BBC there was "another one coming. quite likely on Monday".

Radio Slovenia says French carmaker Renault's assembly plant in Slovenia has halted production after it was targeted in the global cyberattack. "The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries, and those victims, many of those will be businesses, including large corporations", the head of the pan-European Union policing agency told Britain's ITV television.

Friday's ransomware attack hit over 125,000 computer systems, with 48 National Health Service (NHS) trusts having to cancel appointment and operations.

He underlined that healthcare services in many countries remain particularly vulnerable to such attacks.

The interior ministry said on its website around 1,000 computers had been infected but it had localised the virus.

"We're in a very hard fight against these ever more sophisticated cyber crime syndicates that are using encryption to hide their activity", he said.

The unique virus type known as ransomware locks computer screens with a message demanding $300 worth of bitcoins - a special type of online currency - to unlock the systems.

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The U.K.'s National Cyber Security Center says it's working with both the digital office of the NHS and law enforcement. Spain's Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda confirms the intrusion, describing it as "punctual attacks".

Affected users can restore their files from backups, if they have them, or pay the ransom; otherwise they risk losing their data entirely.

The Guardian newspaper reported Saturday that the 22-year-old Britain-based researcher, identified online only as MalwareTech, found that the software's spread could be stopped by registering a garbled domain name.

This one worked because of a "perfect storm" of conditions, including a known and highly risky security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and malware created to spread quickly once inside university, business or government networks.

The ransomware exploited a vulnerability that has been patched in updates of recent versions of Windows since March.

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

It's emerged that the tools used in the attack appear to have been stolen from the US National Security Agency. It crippled the British health care system for a day, infecting almost 20 percent of its health care groups, forcing medical treatments to be canceled or postponed for thousands of people.

The ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users' access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

The malware spread quickly on Friday, with medical staff in the United Kingdom reportedly seeing computers go down "one by one".

Security officials in Britain urged organizations to protect themselves by installing the security fixes, running antivirus software and backing up data elsewhere.

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.

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