5 ways to become a smaller target for ransomware hackers

The malware has been spreading across the globe

"At this stage we haven't seen the impact that they have seen in the United Kingdom, for example", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

The following day dozens of trusts in England and Scotland were forced to cancel procedures after staff reported seeing computers go down "one by one" as the virus took hold.

Wainwright said earlier on British TV that the attack was "unprecedented" in its reach, with more than 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries.

(AP Photo/Paul White). A security guard stands outside the Telefonica headquarters in Madrid, Spain, Friday, May 12, 2017.

The Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center, a nonprofit group providing support in computer attacks, said 2,000 computers at 600 locations in Japan were reported affected.

Dr Krishna Chinthapalli said the havoc wreaked on some health services in an worldwide cyber attack could encourage hackers to target hospitals.

It is the start of the new week for most of us, and as you power up those systems at work, be mindful of the cyberattacks that had disrupted the world last Friday.

The effects were so widespread that Microsoft even took the "highly unusual" step of releasing security updates for out of date operating systems like Windows XP and Vista.

In Britain, many hospitals and clinics that are part of the country's national health service were still having computer problems.

Exploits in the hands of governments have repeatedly leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage, wrote Smith, who compared the leaks of Central Intelligence Agency and NSA vulnerabilities to the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.

The software giant compared the severity of the attack with "the United States military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

"The other thing is they could just disable the kill switch that MalwareTech enabled ... but the transfer attempt failed".

"We haven't fully dodged this bullet at all until we're patched against the vulnerability itself", Kalember said.

Ransomware is malware that encrypts important files, essentially locking people out of their computers unless they pay up to prevent their entire system from being deleted.

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"More action is needed, and it's needed now", he said.

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call", Smith writes in a blog post on Sunday.

"We will get a decryption tool eventually, but for the moment, it's still a live threat and we're still in disaster recovery mode", Europol director Rob Wainwright told CNN's Becky Anderson on Sunday, adding that the number of cases was still rising.

Security experts said his move bought precious time for organizations seeking to block the attacks.

The effects were felt across the globe, with Britain's National Health Service, Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica, FedEx Corp.in the USA and French carmaker Renault all reporting disruptions.

The most public damage was on the country's largest movie chain.

Officials say they're aware of those problems.

Users are advised to be wary of clicking links from unsolicited or unexpected emails. No details were disclosed.

"My answer is, never pay the ransom", Lawrence Abrams, a New York-based blogger who runs BleepingComputer.com told The Associated Press.

What has tech security experts really anxious about this development is the fact that more exploits were released during the NSA leak than what caused last week's attack.

"Right now, just about every IT department has been working all weekend rolling this out", said Dan Wire, spokesman at Fireeye Security. "As a result, hospitals, businesses, governments, and computers at homes were affected". Because numerous computers impacted run older Windows systems like XP, Microsoft issued a rare patch for XP, which it had stopped updating more than three years ago.

Installing the patch is one way to secure computers against the virus. It locks down all the files on an infected computer.

The security firm Kaspersky Lab, based in Russian Federation, noted that Microsoft had repaired the software problem that allows backdoor entry into its operating systems weeks before hackers published the exploit linked to the NSA, but also said: "Unfortunately it appears that many users have not yet installed the patch". The patch lists can be ginormous. "It won't be too late as long as they're not infected".

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