Spread of 'WannaCry' malware: experts warn against fresh wave of attacks

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South Korea has been mostly spared from the global cyber chaos that crippled scores of governments and companies in 150 countries.

It says the latest virus exploits a flaw in Microsoft Windows identified by, and stolen from, USA intelligence. While a United Kingdom security researcher managed to stop the spread of the virus, hackers have issued new versions that cybersecurity organizations are trying to counter and stamp out.

There are fears of more "ransomware" attacks as people begin work on Monday, although few have been reported so far. The assault infected computer networks around the world, its perpetrators unknown and its objective uncertain, although it may have been nothing more than an attempt to extract money from its victims. The Financial Times estimates the number of victims at the level of 1.3 million computer systems.

"Recognizing that for a variety of business reasons, companies sometimes choose not to upgrade even after 10 or 15 years, Microsoft offers custom support agreements as a stopgap measure", said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to CNET.

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In the world of ransomware, that was "unheard of six months ago", Levy said.

In his opinion, a significant share of responsibility for those attacks lies with the governments that collect data about the vulnerabilities in their own interests. "Otherwise they're literally fighting the problems of the present with tools from the past".

Russian Railways: State media said a virus attacked the IT system of Russian Railways, but it did not affect operations due to a prompt response.

NHS Digital said health trusts across England were sent details of an IT security patch that would have protected them from the attack. The NHS has said hospitals have had to cancel some outpatient appointments because of the attack. He said the situation was under control.

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Its warning allowed Microsoft to fix the issue with a patch that was issued in March, weeks before The Shadow Brokers leaked EternalBlue online.

"In the meantime, the college has provided our members with guidance and resources to support them through this challenging time and we will continue to monitor the situation and reassure patients that Global Positioning System and their teams are doing all they can to provide safe care".

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre, said the outbreak could continue to infect more systems and other victims may emerge.

The spread of the WannaCry ransomware attack slowed over the weekend but the respite might only be brief, experts have said.

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