No second spike in cyber attacks is 'encouraging' - British minister

The "Wannacry" virus locks users out of their computers and demands hundreds of dollars from victims hoping to regain control of their documents and data.

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."The global reach is unprecedented".

"This as not targeted at the NHS, it's an worldwide attack, and a number of countries and organizations have been affected", she said.

"As regards the source of these threats, I believe that the leadership of Microsoft have announced this plainly, that the initial source of the virus is the intelligence services of the US", Putin said.

There are fears of further "ransomware" attacks as people return to work on Monday.

French carmaker Renault said its Douai plant, one of its biggest sites in France employing 5,500 people, would be shut on Monday as systems were upgraded.

The Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center said 2,000 computers in Japan were reported affected so far, citing an affiliate foreign security organization that it can not identify.

Earlier, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed there had not been a second wave of attacks on NHS trusts and said it was "encouraging" that the level of criminal activity was at "the lower end of the range" anticipated.

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Security firm Digital Shadows said on Sunday that transactions totalling $32,000 had taken place through Bitcoin addresses used by the ransomware. An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.

At least one Australian business has fallen victim to the ransomware attack and there are investigations into two other reports, the federal government says. Some operations have been canceled and experts say new strains of the cyberattack could further manifest.

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 US giant.

"This is absolutely a wakeup call", he said.

Caldicott recommended IT systems be replaced as "a matter of urgency" and that health organizations "provide evidence they are taking steps to improve cyber security".

Governments should heed the attack as "a wake-up call", the tech exec wrote - adding they must "consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".

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

Wilson spoke as hospitals in the United Kingdom were beginning to get back to normal, although some were still experiencing problems after the global attack which hit 48 National Health Service trusts in England and 13 Scottish health boards, according to Sky News.

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