WannaCry ransomware infects a quarter million computers in 150 countries

The NHS was hit here in the United Kingdom, but within 48 hours the majority of machines affected were back in operation.

Bossert said "criminals" are responsible, not the USA government.

The indiscriminate attack was unleashed Friday, striking hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide by exploiting known vulnerabilities in older Microsoft computer operating systems.

Mark Skilton, part- time professor of practice in information systems management and innovation at Warwick Business School, said that Microsoft was right to make its call for joined-up governance.

A cyberattack that has already taken over computers in 150 countries could spread further Monday, as people return for the start of a new work week and use computers that may not have been updated with a security patch.

The spread of the WannaCry ransomware attack slowed over the weekend but the respite might only be brief, experts have said.

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In the USA, where the effects haven't appeared to be widespread, investigators believe additional companies have been attacked but have not yet come forward to report it, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

According to cyber security firm Avast, more than 75,000 WanaCrypt0r 2.0 attacks had been detected in 99 countries as of Friday.

French carmaker Renault was forced to stop production at sites in France, Slovenia and Romania, while FedEx said it was "implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible". Not only will this ensure none of your files are damaged or lost if you are affected by a computer virus, you also can't be held to ransom if you've got the data somewhere else.

The virus is then able to encrypt files and block user access to them, displaying a pop-up window onscreen telling users they have been blocked and demanding payment. "I'm anxious about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn their machines on Monday morning".

The attacks exploited the computers because they were running outdated versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Russia's Interior Ministry, with oversight of the police forces, said about "1,000 computers were infected", which it described as less than 1 per cent of the total, according to its website.

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About a fifth of NHS trusts - the regional bodies that run hospitals and clinics - were hit by the attack on Friday, leading to thousands of cancelled appointments and operations. Japan, Turkey, and the Philippines were also affected.

Researchers who helped prevent the spread of the malware and cybersecurity firms worked around the clock over the weekend to monitor the situation and install the software patch.

In China, the malware affected computers at "several" unspecified government departments, the country's Cyberspace Administration said on its WeChat blog Monday.

Microsoft distributed the patch two months ago, which could have forestalled much of the attack, but in many organizations it was likely lost among the blizzard of updates and patches that large corporations and governments strain to manage.

He said: "The risk and impact of cyber weapons can do the same or more harm than physical weapons".

He said tech companies, customers and the government need to "work together" to protect against attacks.

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