Australia and New Zealand largely escape global cyber attack

The full extent of the attack won't become fully clear until people return to their workplaces Monday, for the first time after the attacks.

Cyber security experts predict that the scope of the attack could expand as people return to work and resume their work on computers, CNN reported on Monday.

Account addresses hardcoded into the WannaCry software code showed the attackers received $32,500 in anonymous bitcoin till Sunday, but that amount could rise as more victims rush to pay ransoms of $300 or more just one day before the deadline expires.

One Thai firm is known to have been hit by the ransomware - the Blade & Soul game site of the Garena online company. "That's not to say that the attacks are new - it's a repercussion of what happened on Friday".

Security experts tempered the alarm bells by saying that widespread attacks are tough to pull off.

The U.K. government's cyber office put it succinctly: "T$3 he way these attacks work means that compromises of machines and networks that have already occurred may not yet have been detected, and that existing infections from the malware can spread within networks".

He said Russian Federation and India were hit particularly hard, largely because Microsoft's Windows XP - one of the operating systems most at risk - was still widely used there. Europol, the European Union's police agency, said the onslaught was at "an unprecedented level and will require a complex global investigation to identify the culprits".

It issued guidance for people to protect their systems, while taking the highly unusual step of reissuing security patches first made available in March for Windows XP and other older versions of its operating system.

"It seems that a lot of internet security guys over the weekend did their homework and ran the security software updates", he said.

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And while Microsoft said it had already released a security update to patch the vulnerability one month earlier, the sequence of events fed speculation that the NSA hadn't told the US tech giant about the security risk until after it had been stolen.

"The problem is the larger organizations are still running on old, no longer supported operating systems", said Lawrence Abrams, a New York-based blogger who runs BleepingComputer.com.

National Health Service: At least sixteen NHS organizations have been hit, according to NHS Digital.

The UK security researcher MalwareTech, who helped limit the WannaCry ransomware attack, predicted "another one coming... quite likely on Monday", the BBC reported. The server operates as a "sinkhole" to collect information about malware - and in Friday's case kept the malware from escaping.

Infected computers appear to largely be out-of-date devices that organizations deemed not worth the price of upgrading or, in some cases, machines involved in manufacturing or hospital functions that proved too hard to patch without possibly disrupting crucial operations, security experts said.

Ryan Kalember, senior vice president at Proofpoint Inc., which helped stop its spread, said the version without a kill switch could spread. The exploit was leaked last month as part of a trove of USA spy tools. Unfortunately, this tool, along with many others, was stolen by hackers and leaked to the world in April 2017 by a hacker group calling themselves the "Shadow Brokers".

British cybersecurity expert Graham Cluley doesn't want to blame the NSA for the attack.

"This attack was so simple and unsophisticated, that leads me to believe the people or person involved, even though they are quite capable, they're more along the lines of an amateur", he said. "But there's clearly some culpability on the part of the US intelligence services".

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