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WannaCry attack could worsen as people return to work on Monday

17 Mai 2017

More than 200,000 victims in around 150 countries have been infected by the ransomware which originated in the United Kingdom and Spain on Friday before spreading globally.

The malware attack first emerged on Friday night but there were concerns of more disruption as workers switch on their computers this morning.

The problem was then isolated, before work was undertaken to cleanse and fix it from a malicious programme known as ransomware.

Major ransomware worm attacks such as the recent one dubbed "WannaCry" which hit several organisations such as the UK's health care system NHS and Spain's telecoms firm Telefonica are expected to become more frequent and expose the protection gap in the global economy, according to experts.

"Additionally, we have provided assistance to GP practices and worked with hospital teams across Fife to help safeguard systems".

Europol estimated Sunday that the attack had hit at least 150 countries and infected 200,000 machines.

Spending is projected to rise in real terms, although Labour says the government's plans do not provide enough to prevent a looming health crisis due to an ageing population.

While many trusts across Yorkshire were unaffected, some were forced to suspend internet access to staff and block incoming external emails until software patches, which update a computers' immunity' were deployed.

They were among many victims of an indiscriminate global attack that has struck hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide by exploiting known vulnerabilities in older Microsoft computer operating systems.

Japanese companies earlier raised alarms, with big brands admitting their systems had been affected.

Senior security staff held another meeting in the White House Situation Room on Saturday, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency were trying to identify the perpetrators of the massive cyber attack, said the official, who spoke on condition on anonymity to the news agency to discuss internal deliberations.

As NHS organisations start a new work week, it appears the attack is far from over, with the previously unaffected Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust added to the list of victims.

Local experts on Saturday scrambled to ensure hospitals and other public facilities did not fall victim to the massive ransomware operation, which had seen patients turned away and operations cancelled in Britain.

Authorities are also asking anyone affected by the virus to go to for more information about how to unlock your computer without paying the attackers.

Seven trusts, including St Barts in London and the Y ork Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, have experienced serious problems and require "extra support".

An official from Cybersecurity Administration China (CAC) told local media on Monday that while the ransomware was still spreading and had affected industry and government computer systems, the spread was slowing.

British media had reported a year ago that most public health organizations were using an outdated version of Microsoft Windows that was not equipped with security updates.

Brad Smith, the technology firm's president and chief legal officer, criticised U.S. intelligence agencies the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) for "stockpiling" software code which could be exploited by hackers. A final fail-safe is to shut down vulnerable systems.

WannaCry attack could worsen as people return to work on Monday