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UK Working to Restore Hospital Systems After Cyberattack

The majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan.

He said many NHS hospitals in Britain use Windows XP software, introduced in 2001, and as government funding for the health service has been squeezed, "IT budgets are often one of the first ones to be reduced". Experts suggested Saturday that the ransomware's progress had been halted, but new attacks could soon follow. Basic services that impact your life could be impacted even while your own machines is clean.

The ransomware was created to repeatedly contact an unregistered domain listed in its code.

"My job is to look for ways we can track and potentially stop botnets (and other kinds of malware), so I'm always on the lookout to pick up unregistered malware control server domains".

Infection attempts from the WannaCry ransomware.

"The crisis isn't over, they can always change the code and try again", @MalwareTechBlog said.

The attacks used a technique known as ransomware that locks users' files unless they pay the attackers a sum in Bitcoin currency.

It works by exploiting an unpatched bug in Windows XP, the 16-year-old operating system which is still limping along in many a corporate office.

Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack in upward of 70 countries, although both said the attack has hit Russian Federation hardest.

"This is not targeted at the NHS, it's an global attack and a number of countries and organizations have been affected", British Prime Minister Theresa May said.

His move may have saved governments and companies millions of dollars and slowed the outbreak before US -based computers were more widely infected. In a blog post, the US tech giant recalled that it had published an update in March to address the weakness exploited in Friday's attacks, a security flaw exposed in documents leaked from the US National Security Agency. He said companies can apply the patch released in March to all systems to prevent WannaCry infections. But computers and networks that haven't updated their systems are at risk.

NHS Digital, which oversees hospital cybersecurity, says the attack used the Wanna Decryptor variant of malware, which holds affected computers hostage while the attackers demand a ransom. El Mundo reported that the attackers sought a ransom in bitcoin.

A cybersecurity expert says the biggest cyberextortion attack in history is going to be dwarfed by the next big ransomware attack.

Thousands of companies in dozens of countries, including Nissan in the United Kingdom, were also affected by the Wanna Decryptor, also known as WannaCry, attack on Friday. But the NHS said Saturday it does not have any evidence that patient data was breached. Patients were asked not to come to hospitals unless it was an emergency. Spokesman Petr Lidov told CNN that it affected call centers but not the company's networks. Doctors told him two weeks ago they needed to schedule a prostate biopsy to determine if he has cancer.

Hospitals in London, northwest England and other parts of the country reported problems with their computer systems Friday.

Spain, meanwhile, said several Spanish companies had been targeted in ransomware cyberattack that affected the Windows operating system of employees' computers.

Victims who opened the attachment in the email were served with the ransomware, which takes over the computer, security researchers said.

Microsoft said it was pushing out automatic Windows updates to defend clients from WannaCry.

Managers at many companies and other organizations have not taken steps to put proper cybersecurity systems in place despite talking about their importance, Gazeley said.

No one has yet identified the culprit.

However official government advice on both sides of the Atlantic is not to pay criminals behind such attacks. Bitcoin is set up to be untraceable, so investigators will struggle to follow a money trail, he said. "They should be doing that all the time", Scott said.

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