Web Desk — A ransomware cyber-attack that may have originated from the theft of “cyber weapons” linked to the US government has hobbled hospitals in England and spread to countries across the world.
Security researchers with Kaspersky Lab have recorded more than 45,000 attacks in 99 countries, including the UK, Russia, Ukraine, India, China, Italy, and Egypt. In Spain, major companies including telecommunications firm Telefónica were infected.
— MalwareHunterTeam (@malwrhunterteam) May 12, 2017
By Friday evening, the ransomware had spread to the United States and South America, though Europe and Russia remained the hardest hit, according to security researchers Malware Hunter Team. The Russian interior ministry says about 1,000 computers have been affected.
Markus Jakobsson, chief scientist with security firm Agari, said that the attack was “scattershot” rather than targeted.
“It’s a very broad spread,” Jakobsson said, noting that the ransom demand is “relatively small”.
“This is not an attack that was meant for large institutions. It was meant for anyone who got it.”