According to reports Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are highly vulnerable to such malware attacks as they presently run on old version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, making a software security patch update a necessary exercise.
The cyberattack that spread malicious software around the world, shutting down networks at hospitals, banks and government agencies, was stemmed by a young British researcher and an affordable domain registration, with help from another 20-something security engineer in the U.S. But the researcher's actions may have saved companies and governments millions of dollars and slowed the outbreak before computers in the US were more widely affected.
The computing giant said software vulnerabilities hoarded by governments have caused "widespread damage".
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".
Security officials in Britain urged organizations to protect themselves from ransomware by updating their security software fixes, running anti-virus software and backing up data elsewhere.
You can read a detailed version of what happened here at the researcher's website, MalwareTech.
"A review of the three payment addresses hardcoded into the Wana ransomware strain indicates that these accounts to date have received 100 payments totaling slightly more than 15 Bitcoins - or approximately $26,148 at the current Bitcoin-to-dollars exchange rate".
The ransomware, called WannaCry, locked down all the files on an infected computer and asked the computer's administrator to pay in order to regain control of them.
It has been reported that a new ransomware named as Wannacry is spreading widely.
Among those hit were Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica and FedEx Corp.in the U.S.
Any halting of the initial spread, however, does not help with computers already infected. Short of paying, options for these individuals and companies are usually limited to recovering data files from a backup, if available, or living without them. However, the largest concentration of attacks is seen within the Russian Federation. Microsoft swiftly released software "patches" to fix those holes, but many users still haven't installed updates or still use older versions of Windows.
On 14 April, the malware was made available online through a dump by a group called Shadow Brokers, which claimed previous year to have stolen a cache of "cyber weapons" from the National Security Agency.
Britain's National Cyber Security Center said it could have been much worse if not for a 22-year-old Britain-based cybersecurity researcher.
In Russia, government agencies insisted that all attacks had been resolved. "Not something where only a service technician could possibly update it for you", she says.
Microsoft issued a fix for the vulnerability that hackers capitalized upon Friday before the Shadow Brokers leak occurred, which experts have said suggests that the NSA may have tipped the company off about the impending leak.
"This obviously was a well-planned and well-coordinated attack", Dillon said. French automaker Renault had to temporarily shut down manufacturing at plants in northern France and Romania, Reuters reported.
In Germany, train operator Deutsche Bahn wrote on Twitter that signboards in stations were affected, though no train operations were affected. Radio Slovenia said Saturday the Revoz factory in the southeastern town of Novo Mesto stopped working Friday evening to stop the malware from spreading.