Businesses brace as cyber threat lingers

Friday cyberattack hit 200000 victims in over 150 countries

The assault, which began Friday and was being described as the biggest-ever cyber ransom attack, struck state agencies and major companies around the world - from Russian banks and British hospitals to FedEx and European auto factories.

Europe's police agency said the attack has hit at least 100,000 organisations in 150 countries.

The problem erupted around 12:30 p.m. local time, the IT worker says, with a number of email servers crashing.

His move may have saved governments and companies millions of dollars and slowed the outbreak before USA -based computers were more widely infected.

Wainwright says he is anxious that the ransomware attack might spread further once people return to work on Monday and log on to their computers.

Dr Anne Rainsberry, NHS incident director, said: "We have been working with 47 organisations providing urgent and emergency care who have been infected to varying degrees".

NHS Digital said many of these can not be updated because they are running MRI machines and other major pieces of equipment.

The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (USCRT) under the Department of Homeland Security said it has received multiple reports of WannaCry ransomware infections in many countries around the world.

Senior US security officials held another meeting in the White House Situation Room on Saturday, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the NSA were working to help mitigate damage and identify the perpetrators of the massive cyber attack, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Microsoft said the situation was "painful" and that it was taking "all possible actions to protect our customers".

In this case, he said, the NSA apparently handed the WannaCry makers a blueprint - pre-written code for exploiting the flaw, allowing the attackers to essentially cut and paste that code into their own malware.

"Later we found out that the domain was supposed to be unregistered and the malware was counting on this, thus by registering it we inadvertently stopped any subsequent infections", @MalwareTechBlog told CNNTech.

Darien Huss, a 28-year-old research engineer who helped MalwareTech, agreed the threat was far from over.

"Or we could potentially see copycats mimic the delivery or exploit method they used", he said.

Colleges: Internet security firm Qihoo360 issued a "red alert" over the weekend, saying a large number of colleges and students in China had been hit by the ransomware attack.

Infected computers appear to largely be out-of-date devices that organizations deemed not worth the price of upgrading or, in some cases, machines involved in manufacturing or hospital functions that proved too hard to patch without possibly disrupting crucial operations, security experts said. "It won't be too late as long as they're not infected". Those expectations prompted businesses to call in technicians to work over the weekend to make sure networks were protected with security updates needed to thwart Eternal Blue. We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world.

On Sunday, MalwareTech was one of many security experts warning that a less-vulnerable version of the malware was likely to be released.

Computers around the globe were hacked beginning on Friday using a security flaw in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, an older version that was no longer given mainstream tech support by the United States giant.

In Spain, the attacks did not disrupt the provision of services or networks operations of the victims, the government said in a statement.

And that's for a simple reason: Individuals and organizations alike are fundamentally bad about keeping their computers up-to-date with security fixes. Before Friday's attack, Microsoft had made fixes for older systems, such as 2001's Windows XP, available only to those who paid extra for extended technical support.

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