Massive ransomware attack hits 74 countries

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"We are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible". Microsoft swiftly announced that it had already issued software "patches" to fix those holes, but many users haven't yet installed updates or still use older versions of Windows.

Microsoft has released a patch to fix computers affected by the malware.

As not all ransomware provides this timer countdown, said the team, the WannaCry attack shows computer users that "payment will be raised" after a specific countdown, along with another display raising urgency to pay up, threatening that the user will completely lose their files after the set timeout.

Consumers who have up-to-date software are protected from this ransomware.

Computer systems at companies and hospitals in dozens of countries were hit Friday, apparently part of a huge extortion plot.

And all this may be just a taste of what's coming, another cyber security expert warned.

Geographical target distribution of the WannaCry ransomware attack for the first few hours of the attack on May 12, 2017, according to Kapersky security firm.

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Forcepoint Security Labs said in a statement that the attack had "global scope" and was affecting networks in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Mexico.

The BBC noted that the malware spread quickly on Friday, and since then there have been reports of infections in 99 countries. While some procedures are still able to be carried out without the computer systems operating, some hospitals have begun diverting emergency patients to other areas that have not been affected by the attack.

The malicious software behind the onslaught appeared to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was supposedly identified by the National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes and was later leaked to the internet.

"Looking at the trends, it was going to happen", he said.

He urged Windows users to update their systems and reboot.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says a cyberattack that has crippled some United Kingdom hospitals is part of a wider worldwide attack.

Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu cited 45,000 attacks in 74 countries as of Friday evening.

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French carmaker Renault's assembly plant in Slovenia halted production after it was targeted in the global cyberattack.

Russia's central bank said Saturday that no incidents had "compromising the data resources" of Russian banks, state news agency Tass reported.

Almost 100 countries across the globe were hit by a large-scale cyberattack Friday.

"For so many organisations in the same day to be hit, this is unprecedented", he said. The National Center for the Protection of Critical Infrastructure says Friday it was communicating with more than 100 providers of energy, transportation, telecommunications and financial services about the attack.

The United Kingdom's famed National Health Service (NHS) has been hit hard, with hackers locking out 39 NHS organization from their patient data in exchange for ransom payments of £230 each, nearly $300, in bitcoin.

In a map provided by Kapersky, Canada appears to be affected, though no company has reported any attacks yet.

In the U.S., FedEx Corp. reported that its Windows computers were "experiencing interference" from malware, but wouldn't say if it had been hit by ransomware.

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Spain's Telefonica was among the companies hit. Deutsche Bahn said it deployed extra staff to busy stations to help customers, and recommended that they check its website or app for information on their connections.

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