Another global cyber attack could hit, warns Europol

15 May 2017
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Friday’s cyber attack crippled the NHS and hit more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries.
But as people return to work on Monday and turn on their computers, the head of the EU’s police agency and cyber experts said the number of victims could rise.

Cyber security experts say the spread of the virus dubbed WannaCry – “ransomware” which locked up computers in car factories, hospitals, shops and schools in several countries – has slowed but respite may be brief.

Europol Director Rob Wainwright told ITV’s Peston on Sunday programme the attack was unique in that the ransomware was used in combination with “a worm functionality” so the infection spread automatically.

He said: “The global reach is unprecedented. The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries, and those victims, many of those will be businesses, including large corporations.

“At the moment, we are in the face of an escalating threat.

“The numbers are going up; I am worried about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn on their machines on Monday morning.”

The perpetrator’s behind the attack are yet to be identified but Mr Wainwright said “normally it is criminally minded and that is our first working theory for obvious reasons”.

He said: “Of course there are amounts that are being demanded, in this case relatively small amounts – $300 rising to $600 if you don’t pay within three days.

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