NHS hospitals in England hit by massive cyberattack

Who else has been affected by the attack?

The attack held hospitals and other entities hostage by freezing computers, encrypting their data and demanding money through online bitcoin payment - $300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later. But it appears to be "low-level" stuff, given the amounts of ransom demanded, Eisen said Saturday.

Gangs are thought to have used tools stolen from United States spies and dumped online by hackers linked to Russian Federation.

"The problem is the larger organizations are still running on old, no longer supported operating systems", said Lawrence Abrams, a New York-based blogger who runs BleepingComputer.com.

Some experts said the threat had receded in part because a British-based researcher, who declined to give his name, registered a domain that he noticed the malware was trying to connect to, and so limited the worm's spread.

On Friday there were 75,000 ransomware attacks in 99 countries.

The assault, which began Friday and was being described as the biggest-ever cyber ransom attack, struck state agencies and major companies around the world - from Russian banks and British hospitals to FedEx and European vehicle factories.

Governments and private security firms on Saturday said that they expected hackers to tweak the malicious code used in Friday's attack, restoring the ability to self-replicate.

Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, spoke Saturday after the emergency COBRA meeting to discuss the cyberattack.

"The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex global investigation to identify the culprits", said Europol, Europe's policing agency.

Patients of the state-funded country-wide service are still facing days of chaos as appointments and surgeries were canceled after NHS organizations from London to Scotland were hit in the "ransomware" attack yesterday.

Throughout the day Saturday, the Energy Ministry and the Israel Electric Corporation took preventative measures to protect and increase the readiness of the country's infrastructure, in accordance with the pattern of attacks now taking place around the world.

"Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP three years ago, hoping they would move to newer versions of the operating system", Al Jazeera's technology editor, Tarek Bazley, said.

The country's central bank said the banking system was hit, and the railway system also reported attempted breaches.

Across the U.S. federal government, about 90 per cent of all spending on cyber programs is dedicated to offensive efforts, including penetrating the computer systems of adversaries, listening to communications and developing the means to disable or degrade infrastructure, senior intelligence officials told Reuters in March. Short of paying, options for these individuals and companies are to recover data files from a backup, if available, or to live without them.

France's car-maker Renault was forced to stop some production at its factories in France and Slovenia.

Europol said Saturday that the attack was of an "unprecedented level and requires worldwide investigation".

British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was no evidence patient data had been compromised and added that the attack had not specifically targeted the National Health Service.

In Spain, major companies including telecommunications firm Telefonica were infected.

Affected hospitals are postponing all non-urgent activity and are asking people not to come to A&E.

In the US, the Computer Emergency Readiness Team, or CERT, says it has "received multiple reports of ransomware infections in several countries around the world".

Companies are often slow to apply these fixes, called patches, because of worries that any software change could break some other program, possibly shutting down critical operations.

Have you or your company been affected by the cyber-attack?

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