Microsoft says cyberattack should be wake up call for governments

Security experts said his move bought precious time for organizations seeking to block the attacks.

The cyber attack that spread malicious software around the world, shutting down networks at hospitals, banks and government agencies, was thwarted by a young British researcher and an low-cost domain registration, with help from another 20-something security engineer in the US.

- Who was behind the attack?

Britain's National Cyber Security Center says teams are working "round the clock" to restore hospital computer systems after a global cyberattack that hit dozens of countries forced British hospitals to cancel and delay treatment for patients.

U.S. software firm Symantec said the majority of organisations affected were in Europe, and the attack was believed to be indiscriminate. Cybersecurity experts have said the majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan.

Critically ill patients are being diverted to unaffected hospitals as computer systems failed in Accidents & Emergency (A&E) units and doctors were locked out of test results, X- rays and patient records.

Speaking after a Cobra meeting on Saturday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted "there's always more" that can be done to protect against viruses.

Due to the WannaCry ransomware attack, critical infrastructure across the world including airports, police department, banks, telecom networks, and stock markets were affected.

Europol's Wainwright underscored the point Sunday. (Intelligence officials wouldn't comment on the authenticity of the claims.) The tools appeared stolen by hackers, who dumped them on the internet. These patches work for updated versions only and hence the users were advised to update their systems. So even people with older computers should go update them.

The patches won't do any good for machines that have already been hit.

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"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 massive cyberattack ricocheting around the globe has reignited a debate: When should spy agencies disclose security vulnerabilities in companies' software?

Europol provides free decryption downloads for most ransomware already detected, though not yet for this particular attack.

He added that it was too early to say who was behind the attack and what their motivation was, but the main challenge was how quickly the virus could spread.

"Remarkably few payments so far have been made, so most people are not paying this", Wainwright said.

But the most serious impact was here in the United Kingdom on the National Health Service.

Barts Health, which runs five hospitals in London, said Sunday it was still experiencing disruption to its computer systems and it asked for the public to use other NHS services wherever possible.

On Friday, a security researcher inadvertently created a "kill switch" to help stop the spread of this ransomware. "There were the same attacks applied to Nissan on Friday and in other areas of the economy and indeed around the world", Fallon said.

The leaked hacking tools publicized a vulnerability in Windows, Microsoft's ubiquitous computer operating system.

It is the largest ransomware attack observed in history. Lieu said it is "deeply disturbing" the NSA likely wrote the original malware used to ransom computers.

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