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Emergency meeting in Scotland tackles computer attack
20 May 2017, 02:28 | Megan Pierce
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.
European vehicle factories and Russian banks were also affected by the attack, which blocks computers and threatens to delete the locked files unless a ransom is paid.
"It would not be very hard at all to re-release this ransomware attack without a kill switch or without an approved kill switch that only they can activate".
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it has not been affected by the attack but Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust communications manager Roy Probert said the trust is still remaining vigilant.
The virus swept across the NHS on Friday, holding computers to ransom for $300 worth of online currency Bitcoin, threatening to delete files if the payment was not made.
"Over the last 18 months, we have reduced the proportion of devices in the NHS that use the most vulnerable platform - XP - from 20% to less than 5%", he said, but he admitted "lessons would be learned".
It is not clear why it took so long for NHS Digital to send it, or why so many trusts failed to update their systems once notified.
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She said Britain was working with worldwide partners in the global manhunt to find the creators of the cyber attack.
Had it not been for a young cybersecurity researcher's accidental discovery of a so-called "kill switch", the malicious software likely would have spread much farther and faster that it did Friday. Police Scotland are working with the National Crime Agency on the investigation.
However, a hacker could change the code to remove the domain and try the ransomware attack again.
"This is a sophisticated attack in terms of how it goes about attacking systems but relatively simple in terms of what it does, which is to scramble data and charge a ransom for victims to unscramble that data".
Computers around the globe were hacked beginning on Friday using a security flaw in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, an older version that was no longer given mainstream tech support by the United States of America giant. Unfortunately, the patch won't help computers that are already infected.
Experts expressed concern that there would be a resurgence in attacks when people return to work. Additionally, NBC News is reporting that at least two new variations of the malware have been detected that skirt over the temporary fix.
Security officials in Britain urged organizations to protect themselves by installing the security fixes, running antivirus software and backing up data elsewhere.
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