In a blog posted on Sunday, Microsoft president Brad Smith said "the WannaCrypt exploits [sic] used in the attack were drawn from the exploits stolen from the National Security Agency" and called on governments to treat the attack as a "wake-up call". Victims who opened the attachment in the email were served with the ransomware, which takes over the computer. He said: "We had no computers and no access to any records". You can also specify the schedule that Windows follows to install updates on your computer. The NSA does not publicly discuss its activities. There are also many third-party products that can help backup your system.
"If your computer system has the most recent patches installed you are safe from this incident".
The board said a specially assembled strategic group, led by chief executive Calum Campbell, made the decision around 4pm to take preventative action to contain the damage by closing down computer systems.
When public XP support ended in 2014, the government said it expected the majority of its machines to be upgraded within a year. Attackers will encourage victims to keep their computers on but do not be fooled. Thirteen NHS organisations in Scotland were also affected by the malware.
Dr Krishna Chinthapalli, a neurology registrar at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, had warned that an increasing number of hospitals could be shut down by ransomeware attacks in an article on the vulnerability of the NHS network in the "British Medical Journal" on Wednesday, two days before the major cyber-hack. Telefonica, a Spanish telecommunications company, reported that some internal systems were affected, but that its network and services were not disrupted as a result.
The enterprise security division of Qihoo 360, one of China's leading suppliers of anti-virus software, said 29,372 institutions ranging from government offices to universities, ATMs and hospitals had been infected by the outbreak as of late Saturday.
Operations were cancelled at Chorley and Preston hospitals over the weekend and on Monday.
The British health care system was still having problems on Monday.
"We've not seen a second wave of attacks and the level of criminal activity is at the lower end of the range that we had anticipated", he said.
Riverbank IT Management managing director Malcolm Newdick said: "Last week's ransomware attack was the most unsafe malware attack we have seen".
A spokesperson for NHS Chorley and South Ribble CCG and NHS Greater Preston CCG said: "We are working with our GP practices to understand the extent to which they have been affected by the cyber attack and IT engineers are supporting practices to get their systems back up and running as quickly as possible".
In Japan, 2,000 computers were reportedly infected.
Bryan Lynn adapted this story for VOA Learning English. Speaking to American television, Bossert described the attack as an "extremely serious threat". His report was based on information from VOANews.com, the Associated Press and Reuters. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.
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