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World braces for fresh cyber attacks, oil prices jump and the language of autocracy

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Microsoft has hit out at the US government for “stockpiling” cyberweapons as the world braces for more cyber attacks as the working week gets under way. More than 1.3m computer systems are still vulnerable to infection by the WannaCry attack that swept across the world on Friday, paralysing hospitals, disrupting transport networks and immobilising businesses. So far 200,000 computers across 150 countries are known to have been infected in the first wave of the cyber attack, Europol said on Sunday The components of the attack are believed to be more complicated than originally thought because they were “cobbled together from many places and sources”, according to a White House official. An anonymous 22-year-old surf fan and self-taught computer expert was instrumental in halting the virus. 

The ransom message of the WannaCry cyber attack

Here’s our explainer on what exactly WannaCry is and how it can be stopped, and a timeline of the attack and how it spread from one unwitting user in Europe. If you’ve been hacked — and even if you haven’t — check out this cyber attack survival guide. Finally, security experts are hopeful that WannaCry will finally force authorities to start talking about co-ordinated action against ransomware. (FT, BBC, NYT, Guardian)

In the news

Oil price bump Oil prices have jumped on international markets after energy ministers from Saudi Arabia and Russia said they supported an extension to an Opec-led agreement to cut output until March 2018 in an effort to reduce global oil stockpiles. Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 2.6 per cent after the joint statement was issued. (FT)

North Korea’s latest missile Pyongyang says it has successfully developed a new long-range rocket that is capable of reaching the US mainland. Experts concur that the success of the country’s missile test-launch at the weekend signals technological advances. The launch also tests the international stance on North Korea, with China signalling restraint. (FT, Reuters, NAR)

Cryptocurrencies hit $50bn Sky-high valuations for bitcoin and the growing number of alternative digital currencies are fuelling fears of an asset bubble in the unregulated market. Bitcoin is also facing more scrutiny after its role in the WannaCry attack. (FT, WSJ)

China’s economy slows The world’s second-largest economy appears to be entering a deceleration cycle. Two consecutive quarters of slowing growth, plus lower factory output, fixed-asset investment and retail sales all point to a slowdown. The news comes as Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta called on Beijing to rebalance its increasingly skewed trading relationship with African countries. (FT)

Merkel's surprise victory Germany’s Social Democrat party is reeling from a heavy defeat in regional elections in the country’s most populous state. A victory for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives has given Europe’s most powerful leader a big boost in the run-up to national elections in September. Meanwhile, the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party failed to achieve its target. (FT)

The day ahead

Macron meets Merkel Emmanuel Macron will visit Berlin a day after his inauguration as French president, a trip aimed at stressing the importance of the Paris-Berlin relationship. The president-elect will also name his prime minister. (France24) 

Atlantia starts engine on bid The Italian company is set to launch a takeover bid to buy its Spanish rival Abertis in a deal that would value the target at more than €15bn and would create one of the world’s largest toll road and infrastructure companies. People involved told the FT that Atlantia would announce its bid early on Monday. (FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

What we’re reading

Not so old and in the way Lucy Kellaway on ageism in the workplace: “To say that a 55-year-old (or 65-year-old, come to that) cannot muster the energy of a 25-year-old during working hours is not only outrageously ageist, it is almost certainly wrong. Yet nearly everyone seems to take it as fact.” (FT)

Europe’s new political divisions Emmanuel Macron’s victory in France brought hope of EU unity but tensions are rising between the west and east and over the Balkan countries. Here’s a look at the major players shaping the new normal. Meanwhile Tony Barber says this “enlargement fatigue” is threatening the dream of further European integration. (FT)

Russia’s man in Washington Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US, was a high-profile presence on Washington’s social scene until the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s election campaign was made public. Now he is a social pariah at the centre of investigations by the FBI, Congress and the press. (Esquire)

The language of autocracy Masha Gessen on how autocrats subvert language, and how, in a world where words are used to mean their opposite (as George Orwell’s memorably satirised with “freedom is slavery”, from 1984), their real meaning needs to be reclaimed. (NYR)

The dangers of adolescence Meet Armani and Eva, two girls born in very different societies thousands of kilometres apart. Despite their differences, adolescence marks a critical period for them and millions of other girls, with choices that can limit their horizons forever (FT)

FT video of the day

The week ahead 
Veronica Kan-Dapaah looks at upcoming stories, including Japan’s GDP growth, G20 health ministers meeting and the online retail market. (FT)

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