United Kingdom working to restore hospital systems after cyberattack

Amber Rudd says the Government has invested billions in cyber security

Some experts say the attack may have been built to exploit a weakness in Microsoft systems that had been identified by the NSA and given the name EternalBlue.

The ransomware locks down all the files on an infected computer and asks the computer's administrator to pay in order to regain control of them.

The ransomware encrypted data on the computers, demanding payments of $300 to $600 to restore access.

Payment is demanded within three days or the price is doubled, and if none is received within seven days the files will be deleted, according to the screen message.

"Now ransomware is affecting larger companies with more sophisticated security operations", said Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer with cyber security firm Veracode.

He said that Russian Federation and India were hit particularly hard, in large part because the older Windows XP operating software is still widely used in the countries.

Microsoft said the situation was "painful" and that it was taking "all possible actions to protect our customers".

Friday's attack exploited vulnerabilities in some versions of Microsoft Windows.

The attack seems to have first appeared around 2 am ET on Friday in Europe, said Kurt Baumgartner, a principal security researcher with Kaspersky Lab in Moscow. It is too early to tell.

The National Cyber Security Centre, part of the GCHQ electronic intelligence agency, said it was working with police and the health system to investigate the attack.

"Several" computers of Russia's Emergency Ministry had also been targeted, its representative told TASS, adding, that "all of the attempted attacks had been blocked, and none of the computers were infected with the virus".

Here's a look at how malware and ransomware work and what people can do if they fall victim to attacks.

A ransomware virus is spreading aggressively around the globe, with over 100,000 computers in 99 countries having been targeted, according to the latest data. Some Italian universities were hit. Once inside an organization's network, the malware behind the attack spread rapidly using this vulnerability.

At the time, some cyber-security experts said some of the malware was real, but old.

The radio report says the Revoz factory in the southeastern town of Novo Mesto stopped working on Friday evening to stop the malware from spreading.

Attack code targeting that vulnerability was released publicly by Shadow Brokers, a group that has been leaking stolen hacking tools purportedly from the NSA. Microsoft has released software patches for the security holes, although not everyone has installed those updates.

Affected by the onslaught were computer networks at hospitals in Britain, Russia's interior ministry, the Spanish telecom giant Telefonica and the U.S. delivery firm FedEx and many other organizations.

G7 finance ministers meeting in Italy discussed the attacks and were expected to commit to stepping up global cooperation against a growing threat to their economies.

May said: "We are aware that a number of NHS organisations have reported that they have suffered from a ransomware attack". The danger will be discussed at the G7 leaders' summit next month.

The ransomware attack is considered the biggest in history, forcing hospitals across Britain to turn away patients and freezing computer systems at Russia's Interior Ministry.

The heart sinks whenever Amber Rudd, the home secretary, talks about anything to do with computers.

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