Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

Australia and New Zealand largely escape global cyber attack

Australia and New Zealand largely escape global cyber attack

According to reports, governmental and non-governmental agencies across the globe have been affected by the virus.

"The fact that so many computers remained vulnerable two months after the release of a patch illustrates this aspect", he said in a blog post.

The government has been criticised for cutting IT support for the health service and failing to replace old computer systems. Cybersecurity experts have said the majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan.

Security experts have warned that another attack is imminent, most likely on Monday, and could be unstoppable.

The cyber-attack that hit computer systems around the world on Friday has affected more than 200,000 people in 150 countries, according to Europol's chief.

The effects were felt across the globe, with Britain's National Health Service, Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica, FedEx the USA and French carmaker Renault all reporting disruptions.

"We take cyber security seriously", she said.

"I can not put my hand on my heart and say that means we are 100 percent cyber secure", he told reporters on Saturday adding that technology and vulnerabilities change. A 22-year-old security researcher in the United Kingdom, who goes by MalwareTech, registered that domain to analyze the attack, but it turned out the ransomware needed it to remain unregistered to keep spreading.

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

"We've never seen anything like this", he said.

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Posting on Twitter, Mr Foster said on Sunday evening: "Our magnificent IT team has worked through the weekend and tackled eight infected systems and around 30 PCs (personal computers)".

He said governments should "treat this attack as a wake-up call" and "consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".

Hunt has not featured in the government's public response to the crisis.

"The truth is, if you're going to cut infrastructure budgets and if you're not going to allow the NHS to invest in upgrading its IT, then you are going to leave hospitals wide open to this sort of attack", he added.

The government was aware of the problem as early as 2014, with the Cabinet Office writing to NHS trusts to insist that they should "clearly understand the risk" of being left unprotected.

It was not immediately clear whether those services were suspended due to attacks, or for emergency patching to prevent infection.

The British government said 48 of 248 health service trusts - the bodies that run the hospitals - in England had been impacted by Friday's attack. Something more focused with knowledge of NHS systems could have done something much worse.

Cybersecurity experts say the unknown hackers who launched this weekend's ransomware attacks used a vulnerability that was exposed in NSA documents leaked online.

In this case, the attackers are asking for at least $300 in bitcoins for each computer affected by the attack.

French carmaker Renault said its Douai plant, one of its biggest sites in France employing 5,500 people, would be shut on Monday as systems were upgraded.

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