"The global reach is unprecedented and beyond what we have seen before", Rob Wainwright, director of the Netherlands-based Europol said Sunday "The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries, and those victims, many of those will be businesses, including large corporations".
The government revealed on Monday that thousands of NHS computers (just under 5%) were still using the old Windows XP operating system, although a No 10 spokesman said other Windows systems were also affected.
"At the moment, we are in the face of an escalating threat". "It's a massive reminder to sectors right across the world cyber security should be a topline strategic priority".
It follows the "ransomware" cyber-attack which left NHS trusts across the United Kingdom without access to IT facilities and patients records.
"The investigation is at an early stage, but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor", the NHS says, referring to software that is being blamed for a number of ransom attacks in Europe Friday.
Microsoft also criticised the failure from many organisations to keep their systems up to date, saying that this made it considerably easier for the virus to spread.
Cyber criminals released a virus which encrypted NHS data and demanded a ransom payable in bitcoin - an internet currency - to have them decrypted, with the threat of deletion if the money was not handed over.
Security Minister Ben Wallace has said that NHS trusts have enough funds to protect against cyber-attacks, and that the "real key" was in regularly backing up data and installing security patches.
"It is important to note that the vast majority of NHS organizations report that they are running contemporary IT systems, which are commissioned depending on local need", the NHS said in a statement.
A Windows security update was released in March, but many users were yet to run it.
Join us today as we discuss the impact of the Ransomware attack and how Google is influencing our schools.
The smaller Liberal Democrats party highlighted the government's decision in 2015 not to extend a technical support deal with Microsoft for Windows XP systems, saying it had left Britain "defenceless".
Consumers who have up-to-date software are protected from this ransomware.
"All GPs surgeries did open, though some of them had to use pen and paper". Once the PC is infected, it acts like a worm, it replicates itself in order to spread to other computers.
NHS Digital says engineers are working around the clock to fix the problem and that "the situation is changing and impacting on organisations in a range of different ways". It had said that an unauthenticated attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities by sending specially crafted packets to the targeted server. "This unfortunate blame game may in part be down to the fact that we are in the middle of a general election campaign".
One person helping coordinate banks' response said they were setting up back-up systems for data and introducing security upgrades. Because they can be used against you.
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