Europol estimates that Friday’s cyberattack has now affected over 200,000 users in 150 countries and is only expected to increase with the start of the work week tomorrow (Monday). In light of the threat, Netanyahu asked that Israelis follow the National Cyber Defense Authority’s instructions.


Illustration Photo Credit: 123RF/Channel 2 News

Friday’s cyberattack has affected 200,000 people from at least 150 countries, a number that is expected to grow once people return to work tomorrow, said the head of Europol today (Sunday).

Rob Wainwright, Europol’s director, said that the ransomware attack is unique as it is combined with a “worm functionality” allowing the virus to spread automatically.

“The global reach is unprecedented,” Wainwright said in an interview with ITV. “The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries. Many of those [victims] are businesses, including large corporations. At the moment, we are in the face of an escalating threat. The numbers are going up; I am worried about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn [on] their computers on Monday morning.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also discussed the cyber threat today. “Up until this point in Israel, there have been no hits on our critical infrastructure,” he said at the beginning of today’s cabinet meeting. “The other vulnerabilities are minor, but that is only at this moment and everything can change. A few years ago, we set up a protection system against cyberattacks and we established the National Cyber Defense Authority with the foresight that there’s a new threat and it’s ahead of us. I can only ask one thing from Israel’s citizens and companies here: Follow the National Cyber Defense Authority’s instructions.”

As previously reported by JOL, Israel’s National Cyber Defense Authority published a number of relatively simple guidelines designed to protect every computer from malware.