Cyberattack hits at least 200,000 victims in 150 countries video

REUTERS

A cyber attack sparks chaos across UK hospitals as computers shut down.

The weekend's global cyberattack hit 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries and that number could grow when people return to work on Monday, the head of the European Union's police agency says.

Cyber security experts say the spread of the virus dubbed WannaCry - "ransomware" which locked up computers in car factories, hospitals, shops and schools in several countries - has slowed, but that any respite might be brief.

Europol director Rob Wainwright told UK station ITV the attack was unique in that the ransomware was used in combination with "a worm functionality" so the infection spread automatically.

The weekend's cyberattack reached at least 200,000 victims across 150 countries.
REUTERS

The weekend's cyberattack reached at least 200,000 victims across 150 countries.

"The global reach is unprecedented. The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries, and those victims, many of those will be businesses, including large corporations," he said.

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Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the BBC's Andrew Marr the UK government was spending around £50 million ...
REUTERS

Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the BBC's Andrew Marr the UK government was spending around £50 million [NZ$94 million] to improve the computer systems in the National Health Service.

"At the moment, we are in the face of an escalating threat. The numbers are going up; I am worried about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn [on] their machines on Monday morning."

He said Europol and other agencies did not yet know who was behind the attack but "normally it is criminally minded and that is our first working theory for obvious reasons".

"Of course there are amounts that are being demanded, in this case relatively small amounts - US$300 rising to US$600 if you don't pay within three days," he said.

Britain's National Health Service was hit hard by the attack.
NEIL HALL/REUTERS

Britain's National Health Service was hit hard by the attack.

"[There have been] remarkably few payments so far that we've noticed as we are tracking this, so most people are not paying this, so there isn't a lot of money being made by criminal organisations so far."

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Wainwright said Europol had been concerned about cyber security in the healthcare sector, which deals with a lot of sensitive data, but declined to comment on whether Britain's National Health Service had been adequately funded.

British Defence minister Michael Fallon told the BBC the government, under Prime Minister Theresa May, was spending around £50 million [NZ$94 million] on improving the computer systems in the NHS after warning the service that it needed to reduce its exposure to "the weakest system, the Windows XP".

"The NHS was not particularly targeted. There were the same attacks applied to Nissan on Friday and in other areas of the economy and indeed around the world," Fallon said.

"But let me just assure you, we are spending money on strengthening the cyber defence of our hospital system."

 - Reuters

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