Tens of thousands of computers in 99 countries have been infected by a ransomware virus which extorts users by blocking Windows files and demanding payment to restore access.
The cyberattack has hit some 200,000 victims in over 150 countries, Europol Director Rob Wainwright told ITV.
“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.
“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 added.
The UK is spending 50 million pounds ($64 million) to improve the cybersecurity of NHS computer networks, Defence Minister Michael Fallon told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
“We set aside 1.9 billion pounds to protect us better against cyber, and a large chunk of that went to the NHS,” the official said.
“We are spending around 50 million pounds on the NHS cyber systems to improve their security, we’ve encouraged the NHS trusts to reduce their exposure to the weakest system, the Windows XP… and there is money available to strengthen these systems.”
The WannaCry attack infection has spread to some 126,000 computers in 104 countries, cybersecurity firm Avast has reported. Russia, Ukraine, and Taiwan appear to be the countries most affected by the ransomware, with 57 percent of the infection reports coming from Russia.
13 May 2017
A young cybersecurity researcher has been credited with helping to halt the spread of the global ransomware cyberattack by accidentally activating a so-called “kill switch” in the malicious software. The Guardian newspaper reported Saturday that the 22-year-old Britain-based researcher, identified online only as MalwareTech, found that the software’s spread could be stopped by registering a garbled domain name. The paper quoted the researcher as saying: “This is not over. The attackers will realize how we stooped it, they’ll change the code and then they’ll start again.” He urged Windows users to update their systems and reboot. (The Associated Press)
Romanian car manufacturer Dacia, owned by French company Renault, said that some of its production had been hit by the WannaCry global ransomware cyberattack that has affected computers in almost 100 countries, Reuters reports. “Part of Dacia’s production in Mioveni has been affected by disfunctionalities of IT systems and some employees were sent back home,” the carmaker said in a statement. “The measure was taken to prevent extending the disfunctions, which at first glance are a consequence of the global cyber attack.”
The UK government still hasn’t discovered the perpetrators of the attack, or the pattern according to which it spread.
“We’re not able to tell you who’s behind the attack. That work is still ongoing,” Home Secretary Amber Rudd told BBC Radio. “The virus feels random in terms of where it’s gone to and where it’s been opened.”
Deutsche Bahn, a German railway company, has confirmed on Twitter that it fell victim to the massive cyberattack.
“Trojan [malware]: train traffic hasn’t been affected. Some electronic boards at stations [announcing arrivals/departures] have been affected,” it said in a statement.
At least two of Indonesia’s major hospitals have been struck in the “ransomware” cyber attack that infected computers globally, a government official said on Saturday. Dharmais Hospital and Harapan Kita Hospital in Jakarta are affected by the ransomware, said Semuel Pangerapan, a director general at Indonesia’s Communication and Information Ministry. “Efforts to localise the infected server are underway to prevent (the ransomware) from spreading,” he said, adding that his ministry was working with other authorities, including the Health Ministry, to solve the problem. (Reuters)
Russian Railways was among the companies compromised by the WannaCry ransomware, while Russian banks successfully blocked Friday’s hack attacks.
“The IT system of Russian Railways has been attacked by a virus. The virus has been isolated. The work to eliminate it and upgrade anti-virus protection is currently underway,” the company told TASS news agency.
Russian Railways said the infection did not cause disruption to its transportation services.
Several Russian banks were also attacked by the malware, but their computer networks were not penetrated, the cybersecurity monitoring center FinCert, which is operated by Russia’s central bank, reported on Saturday.
French multinational automobile manufacturer Renault halted production at French sites following the cyberattack, a Renault spokeswoman told AFP.
The shutdown “is a part of protection measures that have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus,” the spokeswoman added.
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. The attack, which locked up computers and held users’ files for ransom, was believed the biggest of its kind ever recorded. British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Saturday that 45 public health organizations were hit, but she stressed that no patient data had been stolen. (The Associated Press)
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the authorities are not able to say who is behind that attack. “That work is still ongoing. We don’t know anymore about where it has come from at the moment. We know it has affected up to 100 countries and it wasn’t targeted at the NHS,” she said. According to Rudd, it is the type of virus that works particularly effectively between systems that are connected to each other, so it is more likely to impact larger organizations than individuals.
G7 finance ministers are planning to join forces against international cyberattacks, Reuters reports, citing a draft statement for a meeting which G7 finance chiefs are holding in in Bari, Italy.
“We recognise that cyber incidents represent a growing threat for our economies and that appropriate economy-wide policy responses are needed,” the draft statement reads.
Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said that the meetings on cyberattacks, which had been scheduled before Friday’s hacking attack, were “unfortunately very timely,” Reuters says.