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29,000 Chinese institutions hit by cyberattack

LONDON (AP) — The latest on the global extortion cyberattack that hit dozens of countries on Friday (all times local):

4:50 a.m.

Chinese state media say more than 29,000 institutions across China have been infected by the global “ransomware” cyberattack.

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Xinhua News Agency reports that by Saturday evening, 29,372 institutions had been infected along with hundreds of thousands of devices. It cited the Threat Intelligence Center of Qihoo 360, a Chinese internet security services company.

It says universities and educational institutions were among the hardest hit, numbering 4,341, or about 15 percent of internet protocol addresses attacked. Also affected were railway stations, mail delivery, gas stations, hospitals, office buildings, shopping malls and government services.

Xinhua says the system used by PetroChina’s gas stations was attacked, meaning customers could not use their cards to pay. Most stations had recovered.

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4:45 a.m.

Japanese companies say they are working to overcome the problems caused by a global “ransomware” cyberattack.

Nissan Motor Co. confirmed Monday some units had been targeted, but it had responded and there has been no major impact on its business.

Hitachi spokeswoman Yuko Tainiuchi said it was experiencing email delays and file delivery failures and suspected the cyberattack was at fault, even though no ransom was being demanded. Programs were being installed to fix the problem.

Broadcaster NTV reported 600 companies and 2,000 computers in Japan had been affected. Overall the attack has created chaos in 150 countries

The initial attack, known as “WannaCry,” paralyzed computers that run Britain’s hospital network, Germany’s national railway and other companies and government agencies worldwide in what’s believed to be the biggest online extortion scheme ever.

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2:30 a.m.

The Indonesian government is urging businesses to update computer security after two hospitals were affected by a “ransomware” cyberattack that has hit dozens of countries.

The director-general of Indonesia’s Communication and Information Ministry says in a statement that the malware locked patient files on computers at the affected hospitals, both in the capital Jakarta.

Local media reported Monday that patients arriving at Dharmais Cancer Hospital on the weekend were unable to get queue numbers and had to wait several hours while staff worked with paper records.

The ministry has announced specific measures that organizations can take to counter the “WannaCry” attack including a specific update to Microsoft operating systems.

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12:20 a.m.

Microsoft’s top lawyer is laying some of the blame for Friday’s massive cyberattack at the feet of the U.S. government.

Brad Smith criticized U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency, for “stockpiling” software code that can be used by hackers. Cybersecurity experts say the unknown hackers who launched this weekend’s “ransomware” attacks used a vulnerability that was exposed in NSA documents leaked online.

In a post on Microsoft’s blog, Smith says: “An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.”

Microsoft’s lawyer says governments should “report vulnerabilities” that they discover to software companies, “rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them.”

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10:30 p.m.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Center has joined others in warning that more cases of “ransomware” attacks may come to light as a new work week starts Monday.

The organization predicts that the problem could be “at a significant scale” because some infected machines haven’t yet been detected, and existing infections can spread within networks.

It said Sunday that a similar cyberattack could also recur, though it did not have “specific evidence” of this.

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The warning echoed that from Europe’s policing agency earlier Sunday. Europol that said the malware has claimed some 200,000 victims across 150 countries and that the numbers are still going up. Officials urged organizations and companies to immediately update their security software.

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8:45 p.m.

An executive at a cybersecurity firm that helped block a global ransomware attack says new variations of the malicious worm are circulating and researchers expect one to develop that can’t be stopped.

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