Cyber attack criminals will be brought to justice, investigators pledge

Officials urged companies and organizations to update their Microsoft operating systems immediately to ensure networks aren't still vulnerable to more powerful variants of the malware known as WannaCry or WannaCrypt. Cyber criminals targeted users in 150 nations, including the U.S., Russia, Brazil, Spain, and India, along with major government agencies, such as the U.K.'s National Health Service and Germany's national railway. The technology has been "increasingly rampant since 2014", the study says, though the concept goes back to 1989, "when PC-locking malcode was snail-mailed to victims on floppy disks".

Additional disruptions are possible as people return to work Monday and turn on their desktop systems, Europol executive director Rob Wainwright said on ITV's Peston on Sunday broadcast.

So far, most of the large attacks have been outside the United States but it's unclear whether that will continue to be the case.

He said most people "are living an online life", and these agencies have a duty to protect their countries' citizens in that realm as well.

The attack, which demanded ransom payments emailed by web link or attachment in 28 languages, hit 230,000 computers running Microsoft Windows in 99 countries when it was launched last Friday.

U.S. package delivery giant FedEx, European vehicle factories, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, Britain's health service and Germany's Deutsche Bahn rail network were among those hit. "We think it's going to be the footprint for other kinds of attacks in the future". That low-cost move redirected the attacks to MalwareTech's server, which operates as a "sinkhole" to keep malware from escaping.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop previously said authorities were working to validate if reports of cyber attacks in the country were linked to the global attack.

"It's quite an easy change to make, to bypass the way we stopped it", MalwareTech, who uses an alias, told the Associated Press. We should be prepared: "more hospitals will nearly certainly be shut down by ransomware this year", Chinthapalli wrote.

"If you have anything to patch, patch it", the researcher said in a blog post. "So they no longer get the security updates they should be".

Misner noted that Microsoft released a security update in March to address the WannaCrypt MS17-010 vulnerability, which affected systems running Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003, among others, but does not apply to Windows 10 users.

Cyber security experts said this vulnerability has been understood for months, yet too many groups didn't take it seriously. Worse, the malware was able to create so much chaos because it was designed to self-replicate like a virus, spreading quickly once inside university, business and government networks.

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.

The central bank reportedly said those monitoring the cyberattacks found "no incidents compromising data resources of banking institutions".

A letter from the Cabinet Office told them there would be some temporary help with security for old equipment until April 2015, but after that they were on their own.

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