Governments and businesses across the world braced for new ransomware attacks on Monday after cyber security experts warned that malware could be activated as computers are turned on following the weekend.
The exploit was among those employed by tools believed to have been used by the US National Security Agency released in a Shadow Brokers dump last month. Europol said few banks in Europe had been affected, having learned through the "painful experience of being the number one target of cyber crime" the value of having the latest cyber security in place.
When the National Security Agency lost control of the software behind the WannaCry cyberattack, it was like "the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Microsoft President Brad Smith says, in a message about the malicious software that has created havoc on computer networks in more than 150 countries since Friday.
On Monday NHS Digital said it had posted a patch to prevent such an attack on 25 April and that the WannaCry incident would have been prevented if all NHS organizations had installed the patch on their systems.
"When any technique is shown to be effective, there are almost always copycats", said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer of McAfee, a security company in Santa Clara, California.
NHS Wales has announced that none of its computer systems have been impacted and no patient data affected by a global cyber-attack. In the case of this ransomware attack, Microsoft released a patch weeks before the attack hit, which would have protected systems by not permitting the ransomware to take hold.
The list of institutions affected is expected to grow as more become aware of hacks or if more variants spread infections.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who chaired the Cobra meeting on cyber security, said the United Kingdom was working with worldwide partners in the global manhunt to find the ransomware's creators.
In Japan, 2,000 computers were reportedly infected.
Lancashire-based Dr Wrigley said: "Fitting the cancelled operations in is definitely going to cause problems". The statement said antivirus systems are working to destroy it.
"At this stage, we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed".
Tom Bossert is a homeland security adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump.
He added: "We don't know why criminals targeted the NHS in England and Scotland, railways in Germany and the phone system in the Spain".
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