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Aust firms back to work after cyber attack

16 May 2017

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith likened the crippling "WannaCry" cyber assault on at least 200,000 PCs in more than 150 countries - a result of software exploits pilfered from the National Security Agency in April - to a raid on the Pentagon's missile arsenal.

The massive ransomware attacks that started late Friday have locked people out of their computers and demanded hundreds of dollars from the users before they could regain control.

Europol director Rob Wainwright warned that companies must patch their systems before Monday morning.

The Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to follow the instructions of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a government organisation, to prevent attack by ransomware "WannaCry" which has impacted various IT networks in over 150 countries.

"And it's why we've pledged our support for defending every customer everywhere in the face of cyber-attacks, regardless of their nationality".

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Stevenage's Lister Hospital is still experiencing "major computer problems" following Friday's cyber attack in which a virus was introduced onto IT systems at NHS trusts, businesses and other organisations across the United Kingdom and globally.

The computing giant said software vulnerabilities hoarded by governments had caused "widespread damage".

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed. An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.

Cybersecurity experts say the unknown hackers who launched this weekend's ransomware attacks used a vulnerability that was exposed in NSA documents leaked online.

Computers around the globe were hacked beginning on Friday using a security flaw in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, an older version that was no longer given mainstream tech support by the USA giant.

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"There is nothing good in this and calls for concern", he said. Instead, most of the attention has been focused on the NSA exploit used in the attack, the actual threat posed to victims and vital systems, and the sheer magnitude of the event.

It's possible that some PCs are already infected - and infections could spread from networks and machines that are already affected, a cyber security expert warned.

"These ransomware attacks have been on the rise over the last three years, it wasn't exactly something that was a shock - what was surprising is the scale of this one".

USA package delivery giant FedEx, European auto factories, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, Britain's health service and Germany's Deutsche Bahn rail network were among those hit.

Nissan Motor Co. confirmed Monday some units had been targeted, but there was no major impact on its business.

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It is understood the number of systems affected at each of the Scottish health boards fell into single figures - bar NHS Lanarkshire where more machines were affected.