Hi-Tech

Nuclear codes safe from cyber attacks says Defence Secretary

Nuclear codes safe from cyber attacks says Defence Secretary

The unprecedented global cyberattack has hit more than 200,000 victims in scores of countries, Europol said Sunday, warning that the situation could escalate when people return to work.

Governments and computer experts girded Monday for a possible worsening of the global cyberattack that has hit more than 150 countries, as Microsoft warned against stockpiling vulnerabilities like the one at the heart of the crisis.

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said: "We are aware of a number of health boards affected by potential cyber incidents and the First Minister will chair a resilience meeting shortly".

Cybersecurity officials in United Kingdom have applauded a young cyber specialist for helping halt the global ransomware cyber-attack.

"At this stage it's likely that at least one business has been impacted".

Few banks in Europe were affected after learning from previous experiences of attacks, Mr Wainwright said but an attack on public health systems, which badly affected the NHS, had caused concern.

"We're not talking about a government organization or a hospital or anything like that".

Cybersecurity firm Avast said it had identified more than 75,000 ransomware attacks in the world, making it one of the broadest and most damaging cyber attacks in history.

"(But when Australians) go into work tomorrow, make sure your systems have been updated, make sure your chief information officer is right on top of this; speak to the Australian Cyber Security Center".

Russia's interior ministry said some of its computers had been hit by a "virus attack" and that efforts were underway to destroy it.

The virus, which took control of users' files, spread to 100 countries, including Spain, France and Russian Federation.

He said Europol and other agencies did not yet know who was behind the attack but "normally it is criminally minded and that is our first working theory for obvious reasons".

The majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan.

Microsoft released patches last month and on Friday to fix a vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across networks, a rare and powerful feature that caused infections to surge on Friday. There were no reported cases in New Zealand.

Cyber security expert Dr Markus Jakobsson, chief scientist at the cyber security firm Agari, has told Sky News there is "no reason" why the hackers would not launch another attack and warned: "It's going to be another tough week". Ransoms paid amount to tens of thousands of dollars, one analyst said, and predicted they would rise. "I really want to grab the person who done this today and give him a picture of how this is affecting my life", he said. The attackers later demanded $300 in the form of virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock the files.

The initial attack, known as "WannaCry", paralyzed computers that run Britain's hospital network, Germany's national railway and scores of other companies and government agencies worldwide in what was believed to be the biggest online extortion scheme ever recorded.

In Australia, Alistair MacGibbon, special advisor to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Cyber Security, said some small businesses would likely be hit "but as a whole of nation we can be confident, so far, that we have missed the worst of this".

"We will see more victims here and that's very sad always", Mr MacGibbon told the ABC.


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