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Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Technology | By Kate Woods

World braces for more cyberattacks as work week begins

World braces for more cyberattacks as work week begins

Wainwright said he was concerned that the numbers of those affected would continue to rise when people returned to work on Monday morning.

The U.K. government's cyber office put it succinctly: "T$3 he way these attacks work means that compromises of machines and networks that have already occurred may not yet have been detected, and that existing infections from the malware can spread within networks".

Hackers have used "ransomware" to freeze at least 200,000 computers so far, and they have demanded that users pay up to regain access.

He said Russian Federation and India were hit particularly hard, largely because Microsoft's Windows XP - one of the operating systems most at risk - was still widely used there.

"On Monday morning at the start of the new working week it's likely that successful attacks from Friday that haven't yet become apparent will become apparent", he told the Press Association. Researchers from three security firms dismissed initial reports on Saturday that a new version of WannaCry/WannaCrypt had emerged, saying this was based on a rushed analysis of code data that proved erroneous.

There are apprehensions that a second wave of the attack may arrive Monday as employees return and switch on affected computers.

"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.

The main challenge for investigators was the fast-spreading capabilities of the malware, he said, adding that so far not many people have paid the ransoms that the virus demands.

Kaspersky said it was seeking to develop a decryption tool "as soon as possible".

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"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call".

Hospitals in England and Scotland were forced to turn away patients and cancel operations on Friday after the NHS was hit by a large-scale "ransomware" attack. "This attack is a powerful reminder that information technology basics like keeping computers current and patched are a high responsibility for everyone, and it's something every top executive should support".

Microsoft chief Brad Smith said the attack was a sign for individuals, companies and governments to step up their cyber security game.

"Russia and India were hit particularly hard, largely because Microsoft's Windows XP, one of the operating systems most at risk, is still widely used in the countries". "While this protected newer Windows systems and computers that had enabled Windows Update to apply this latest update, many computers remained unpatched globally", Smith wrote. Otherwise they're literally fighting the problems of the present with tools from the past.

Liberal Democrats are calling for an inquiry into the failure.

Labour's shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, in a letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said concerns were repeatedly flagged about outdated computer systems.

Known as MalwareTech online, Hutchins still lives with his parents and younger brother and was hailed as an "accidental hero" for discovering the virus's kill switch.

USA software firm Symantec said the majority of organisations affected were in Europe, and the attack was believed to be indiscriminate.

A the Royal London, which has one of the busiest A&E wards in the country, medical equipment is said to have failed as the virus spread from computer terminals to apparatus.

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