Growing global ransomware cyberattack hits more than 200000 victims so far

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The countries, including India, were hit by what is believed to be the biggest-ever recorded cyberattack on Friday with investigators looking for those behind the hack that affected systems at banks, hospitals and government agencies globally, media reports said. NHS Digital says 16 NHS organizations report being hit.

Robert Pritchard, a former cyber security expert at Britain's defence ministry, said security specialists might not be able to keep pace with the hackers.

"The difficulty is, of course, there are literally hundreds of instances of ransomware in Australia each week, so we're now seeking to confirm whether these are examples of the particular ransomware that has caused so much havoc for example in the United Kingdom", she told reporters in Cairns.

Telefónica: Spanish authorities confirmed the Spanish telecom company Telefónica was one of the targets, though the attack affected only some computers and did not compromise the security of clients' information.

"Despite warnings, (NSA) built risky attack tools that could target Western software", Snowden said.

A 22-year-old British cyber security analyst discovered a website domain name in the code of a "worm" used to infect computers with ransomware, which took over PCs and demanded money to return control.

Forcepoint originally said in a statement that the attack had "global scope", affecting organisations in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Mexico.

The ransomware's progress has been halted by the accidental discovery late Friday of a "kill switch" hidden within the code by a security researcher, said cybersecurity consultant David Kennedy, formerly of the US National Security Agency.

A security guard stands outside the Telefonica headquarters in Madrid, Spain, Friday, May 12, 2017. The effects of the attack on Turkey is unclear.

Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack 99 countries, although both said the attack hit Russian Federation hardest. They were forced to reschedule patients, and people were warned to stay away from emergency rooms if possible. There's no reason for them to stop. "We absolutely anticipate that this will come back", said Patrick McBride, an executive with cyber-security firm Claroty.

"We're not talking about a government organisation or a hospital or anything like that".

An increase in activity of the malware was noticed on Friday, security software company Avast reported, adding that it "quickly escalated into a massive spreading".

British Prime Minister Theresa May says a cyberattack that has crippled some United Kingdom hospitals is part of a wider global attack. He called for the National Cyber Security Centre to be made independent from GCHQ.

Bryce Boland, Asia Pacific chief technology officer for FireEye, a cybersecurity company, said it would be straightforward for existing attackers to launch new releases or for other ransomware authors to start copying the way the malware replicated.

"The intent was to just monitor the spread and see if we could do anything about it later on".

- Avoid opening links from unknown sources, and do not upload files sent by anonymous people via e-mail.

In Asia, some hospitals, schools, universities and other institutions were affected, though the full extent of the damage is not yet known due to the weekend.

"And also existing known infections can spread, we can't say what scale the new cases will occur at but it's likely there will be some".

"Most have found ways of working around this but seven, including St Barts in London, have asked for extra support".

"Ambulances are being diverted to neighbouring hospitals".

Caroline Brennan, 41, went to the hospital to see her brother, who had open heart surgery.

"We warned them, and they were warned again in the spring".

"CQC (Care Quality Commission) does do cyber checks on the NHS trusts, on hospitals when they do their visits, and they will be advising NHS trusts to move to modernise their platforms and I think that after this experience, I would expect them all to move forward with modernising".

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