Sources:| Associated Press
The government's emergency response team is investigating unconfirmed reports of some New Zealanders becoming victims of an unprecedented "ransomware" cyberattack that has hit more than 200,000 computers worldwide.
There was nervousness across the country today as people return to their desks and power up their computers at the start of the working week.
The software, named WannaCry holds users hostage by freezing their computers, encrypting their data and demanding money through online bitcoin payment - US$300 at first, rising to $US600 before it destroys files hours later.
New Zealand's cyber-security watchdog says it might now have arrived here too.
"We've had a small number of unconfirmed reports and we're working through those with the people who reported it to help them identify what it is," Declan Ingram, CERT NZ Operations Manager told 1 NEWS.
The FBI and Britian's cyber security centre are currently hunting those responsible for the ransomware hack, which has corrupted systems from Britian's national health service to Russia's interior ministry and America's freight giant, FedEx.
It's also halted production at a French car plant and hacked into Germany's train system, disrupting arrival and departure boards.
To find out how to prevent falling victim to the attack, visit the Cert NZ site here
Officials and experts are urging organizations and companies to update their operating systems immediately to ensure they aren't vulnerable to a second, more powerful version of the malicious software.
Are you in New Zealand been affected by the ransomware? Contact 1 NEWS at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss what happened for a story
Source: 1 NEWS
The ransomware appears to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was purportedly identified by the US National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes.
The NSA tools were stolen by hackers and dumped on the internet.
Experts say this vulnerability has been understood among experts for months, yet too many groups failed to take it seriously.
Microsoft had "patched," or fixed it, in updates of recent versions of Windows since March, but many users did not apply the software fix.
Worse, the malware was able to create so much chaos because it was designed to self-replicate like a virus, spreading quickly once inside university, business and government networks.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Ensure your Windows Updates are turned on and up to date - let them download then restart your computer when prompted.
Backup your important data in more than one place, such as an external hard drive.
Update your antivirus software.