Most UK patients saw no change on Monday after cyber attack - minister

The number of local victims is steadily rising.

"As of 6pm AEST there had been eight reports of Australian small businesses affected by what has likely been "WannaCry or WannaCrypt" ransomware", Tehan said in a statement.

"We've seen the rise of ransomware becoming the principal threat, I think, but this is something we haven't seen before - the global reach is unprecedented", Europol Executive Director Rob Wainwright said in an interview on the British television program "Preston on Sunday".

"They have been working I know through the night nearly to make sure patches are in place to make sure that hopefully the NHS services can get back to normal", he told BBC radio.

"It's always bad for any businesses to be a victim of crime, but as a whole of nation we can be confident so far that we have missed the worst of this", he added.

Throughout the weekend, IT experts across the world have been working around the clock to try to undo damage caused by the ransomware and installing security patches on vulnerable machines to try to prevent the virus infecting more systems.

The ransomware known as Wanna Decryptor is believed to be responsible. This even as there were reports that "WannaCry" spread globally was slowing down. At least some of those emails appeared to be messages from a bank about a money transfer.

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Microsoft therefore took the highly unusual step to release an update for Windows XP users and urge them to update their software (if possible) as soon as possible. However, that patch was only for versions of Windows still supported by the software vendor - but Microsoft on 13 May also released patches for out-of-support versions of Windows affected by the vulnerability.

These bugs might be valuable to the CIA and NSA, government agencies which can and do exploit flaws to advance the national security interests of the United States government.

"We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits", Microsoft concluded.

Among the largest organisations to have been hit so far are the UK's National Health Service and Spanish telco Telefónica.

Mr Turnbull's cyber security advisor, Alastair MacGibbon, said none of Australia's government agencies or health systems had been hit.

"The ransomware incident highlights the need for all businesses to ensure that their systems are up-to-date with the most current patches and they have back-up procedures in place", Detective Sergeant Craig Windebank said in a statement.

The computers in public institutions, hospitals, and other social sector organizations are not usually updated with the most recent OS system, the Bitdefender representative said.

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