The worldwide "ransomware" cyberattack wreaked havoc in hospitals, schools and offices across the globe today. Asia reported thousands of new cases but no large-scale breakdowns as workers started the week by booting up their computers. The full extent of the damage from the cyberattack felt in 150 countries was unclear and could worsen if more malicious variations of the online extortion scheme appear. The initial attack, known as "WannaCry," paralyzed computers running Britain's hospital network, Germany's national railway and scores of other companies and government agencies around the world. As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought the ransomware, the attack was disrupting computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in scores of countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Spain, India and Japan, among others. Among those hit were Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica and FedEx Corp. In the US. Chinese state media said 29,372 institutions there had been infected along with hundreds of thousands of devices.
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. Companies including Hitachi and Nissan Motor Co. Reported problems but said they said had not seriously affected their business operations. Auto manufacturer Renault said one of its plants, which employs 3,500 people in Douai, northern France, wasn't reopening today as technicians dealt with the cyberattack's aftermath. The temporary halt in production was a "preventative step," Renault said, giving no details on how badly the plant was affected by the malware. In China, universities and other educational institutions were among the hardest hit, possibly because schools tend to have old computers and be slow to update operating systems and security, said Fang Xingdong, founder of ChinaLabs, an internet strategy think tank. On social media students complained about not being able to access their work, and people in various cities said they hadn't been able to take their driving tests over the weekend because some local traffic police systems were down. Railway stations, mail delivery, gas stations, hospitals, office buildings, shopping malls and government services also were affected, China's Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Threat Intelligence Center of Qihoo 360, a Chinese internet security services company. Elsewhere in Asia, the Indonesian government urged businesses to update computer security after the malware locked patient files on computers in two hospitals in the capital, Jakarta.
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