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Cyber-attacks engulf 150 nations, 200,000 victims

THE global cyber-attack has hit more than 200,000 victims in more than 150 countries, Europol executive director Rob Wainwright said Sunday.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” he told Britain’s ITV television. “The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries. Many of those victims will be businesses, including large corporations.”

The unprecedented global cyber-attack affected “more than 75,000 victims” in dozens of countries, French police said in a statement Saturday, the day after the ransomware hit Russia’s banks, British hospitals and European car factories, among others.

“This is a provisional figure of the number of infected computers and could rise significantly over the coming days,” said Valerie Maldonado, deputy head of the French police’s anti-Cybercrime Office.

In this posed picture photograph, a woman points to the website of the NHS: East and North Hertfordshire notifying users of a problem in its network, in London on May 12, 2017. Several British hospitals were hit by cyber attacks on Friday, the country's health service said, forcing some to divert ambulances to other clinics and urge people not to try to contact their doctors. AFP
Europol described Friday’s cyber-attack as “unprecedented.”

The attacks used ransomware, which locks users’ files unless they pay the attackers a designated sum in the virtual Bitcoin currency.

Images appeared on victims’ screens demanding payment of $300 (275 euros) in Bitcoin, saying: “Ooops, your files have been encrypted!”

French police described the mode of the online attack as “particularly dangerous.”

“Once the first computer is infected, it spreads throughout the whole network to which it is connected, paralyzing all the computers  whose files it encrypts.”

The ransomware seems to have hit individual and corporate users equally, the police said in a statement posted online. 

In the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation has been ordered to strengthen the government’s cyber security measures in the wake of what has been dubbed as the WannaCry cyber attack.

“Let us do what we can to monitor and step up our cyber security measures to prevent or at least minimize the adverse effects of the ransomware attacks on our system,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Sunday.

“I gave the same instruction to the Cybercrime Division of the DoJ [Department of Justice],” Aguirre added.

Reports indicated that the attack that began Friday caused chaos in businesses and governments in over 70 countries.

So far, there has been no report of a WannaCry attack in the Philippines, Aguirre said. With Rey E. Requejo

Topics: global cyber-attack , Europol , Rob Wainwright , ransomware , Bitcoin currency , National Bureau of Investigation , cyber security , WannaCry cyber attack , Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II
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