How to protect yourself from the massive ransomware attack

Teams of technicians are working "round the clock" to restore hospital computer systems in Britain after a global cyberattack that hit almost 100 countries crippled the UK's health system.

What's worse, those responsible were able to borrow a weaponized "exploit", apparently created by the U.S. National Security Agency, to launch the attack in the first place.

French police said there were "more than 75,000 victims" around the globe, but cautioned that the number could increase "significantly".

Romania's intelligence service says it has intercepted an attempted cyberattack on a government institution which it said likely came from cybercriminal group APT28 also known as Fancy Bear. Many security firms are already aware of WannaCry in past forms and most are looking at this one right now to see how it might be stopped.

Companies need to make sure they have updated their systems and "patched where they should" before staff arrived for work on Monday morning, the European Union law enforcement agency head said.

The US and Russian Federation were among scores of countries affected by the virus, which also hit a Nissan plant in the UK.

"Malware that penetrates the perimeter and then spreads inside the network tends to be quite successful", said Johannes Ullrich, director of the Internet Storm Center at the SANS Institute. Windows machines that are up-to-date are safe from this ransomware.

The security analyst, who has asked to remain anonymous but uses the name MalwareTech on social media, said he had been notified of an apparent attempt by someone else to take control of the website.

Elliptic, a private security firm that investigates ransomware attacks, said that only about $32,000 had been sent to bitcoin addresses listed by the extortionists in ransom demands that flashed on screens of infected computers.

NHS Digital, which manages the health service cyber security, said fewer than 5% of devices within the health service still use the old system Windows XP.

He said NHS systems in Scotland were expected to be recovered by Monday, adding that there was no evidence that patient data has been compromised. The malware was made available online on April 14 through a dump by a group called Shadow Brokers, which claimed previous year to have stolen a cache of "cyber weapons" from the National Security Agency (NSA).

Sixteen National Health Service organizations in the United Kingdom were hit, and some of those hospitals canceled outpatient appointments and told people to avoid emergency departments if possible. The NHS has said hospitals have had to cancel some outpatient appointments because of the attack.

Still, such figures do not account for lost production at firms like Renault, which on Saturday said it had halted stopped manufacturing at plants in Sandouville, France and Romania to prevent the spread of ransomware in its systems.

Dr Krishna Chinthapalli said the havoc wreaked on some health services in an global cyber attack could encourage hackers to target hospitals.

Now, the company is offering free security fixes to everyone affected.

Meanwhile, the Group of Seven (G7) nations, which were holding a two-day meeting (May 12-13) of Finance Ministers and central bankers in Italy, released a draft statement committing to join forces to fight the rising threat of cyber attacks.

A spokesman said: "Like many organisations around the world, some Nissan entities were recently targeted by a ransomware attack".

A cyber security experts says it's possible some Australian organisations have been affected by a global malware attack but are staying tight-lipped.

An Indian-origin doctor based in London had warned against the cyberhack of the UK's state-run National Health Service just days before it crippled the country's network.

"We should be prepared: more hospitals will nearly certainly be shut down by ransomware this year", he wrote.

Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab detected that variants of a malware called "WannaCry" were used that encrypted the files.

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