Global cyber attack affects 200000 victims - Europol chief

Global cyber attack hits hospitals and companies, threat seen fading for now

Friday's attack was the latest in the growing menace of ransomware in which hackers deliver files to computers that automatically encrypt their data, making it unusable until a ransom is paid.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cybersecurity company F-Secure, said ransomware attacks like WannaCry are "not going to be the norm". He added that the agency is still analyzing the virus and has yet to identify who is responsible for the attack.

Security experts including the accidental hero, MalwareTech have said that another unstoppable attack is imminent.

This includes through spear phishing, which spreads the virus through an email that appears to be from an individual or business that you know.

The "unprecedented" ransomware cyberattack has hit as many as 200,000 victims in over 150 countries, Europe's leading security chief said today and warned of possible fresh disruption when workers switch on their computers at the start of the working week tomorrow.

Hospitals, major companies and government offices were among those that were badly affected. But U.K. hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms like Fedex also reported they had come under assault.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "has made protecting America's financial infrastructure from cyberattacks a top priority", a senior department official told reporters on the return flight from Italy.

Europol's Wainwright underscored the point Sunday.

The ransomware, called WannaCrypt or WannaCry, locks down all the files on an infected computer and asks the computer's administrator to pay to regain control of them. The exploit was leaked last month as part of a trove of NSA spy tools. But computers and networks that hadn't updated their systems were still at risk. "We haven't fully dodged this bullet at all until we're patched against the vulnerability itself".

"I'm anxious about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn on their machines on Monday", he said.

The warning was echoed by Britain's National Cyber Security Centre: "As a new working week begins it is likely, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, that further cases of ransomware may come to light, possibly at a significant scale".

The cyber-attack that's already hit tens of thousands of people around the world could cause even more problems this week.

A cyber-attack on the NHS has forced hospital wards to close, patients to be turned away and operations to be cancelled as at least 30 health service organisations in England and Scotland were infiltrated by the malicious software. News.com.au reported the minister told reporters in Cairns that the challenge was that there were various instances of ransomware in Australia every week and authorities were now seeking to confirm whether these are the same thing that hit the United Kingdom. "They're processing a lot of sensitive data", he said.

In Singapore, a company that supplies digital signage, MediaOnline, was rushing to fix its systems after a technician's error had led to 12 kiosks being infected in two of the island's malls.

Radiology services at the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital were affected in Friday's attack by computer hackers.

Cybersecurity experts have been working around the clock to try to halt the malware attack that is unprecedented in scale.

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.

Use antivirus software to protect systems.

Related:

Comments


Other news