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Meanwhile health authorities are racing to upgrade security software amid fears hackers could exploit the same vulnerability with a new virus.

The NHS is now facing a weekend of chaos as hospitals and GP surgeries have a six-week backlog of postponed appointments to contend with, including operations, once the crisis is brought under control.

He added: 'Let me just assure you we are spending money on strengthening the cyber defence of our hospital system.'Speaking to ITV's Peston on Sunday, Europol director Rob Wainwright said the attack was indiscriminate across the private and public sectors.

He said: '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 their machines on Monday morning.'The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries.

He said: 'I'm not so worried with emails, it's supposedly that this ransomware actually drops a back door and we don't know yet if our fix kills the backdoor as well.'There is a possibility someone could just re-hack the systems.'Assuming the backdoor wasn't killed, any computer that was infected previously would then be re-infectable.'They could essentially scan the internet for the backdoor and access it and drop the ransomware.

Experts fear that an email containing the virus could be laying dormant in hundreds of thousands of inboxes across the globe.

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Many of those will be businesses including large corporations.'There are also fears the UK's biggest police force could fall victim to the same cyber hackers.

The Metropolitan Police is still using outdated software Windows XP, which is 15 years old and has been branded 'obsolete', leaving systems more vulnerable to hackers.

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