16/05/2017 8:50 AM IST | Updated 16/05/2017 8:56 AM IST

A New 'WannaCry' Ransomware Variant Stopped From Damaging Computers

WannaCry has affected more than 200,000 computers worldwide

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TORONTO -- A new variant of the WannaCry "ransomware" attack surfaced on Monday, according to cyber security firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd , which it said it had stopped from damaging computers by activating a "kill switch" in the software.

The company discovered the new variant at about 7 a.m. New York time on Monday (1100 GMT), as it was infecting computers at a rate of about one per second, said Check Point researcher Maya Horowitz.

The firm responded by setting up a server that initiated what is called a kill switch built into the software, which prevents it from encrypting data on infected machines or spreading to other computers, she said.

Ransomware is illicit software that demands a "ransom" from an infected user to regain control of their computer.