Cyber attack is biggest of its kind ever launched, say security chiefs

The worldwide “ransomwarecyberattack wreaked havoc in hospitals, schools and offices across the globe on Monday.

Many firms employed experts over the weekend to try to prevent new infections.

Although experts had voiced fears that a second wave of attacks could strike systems on Monday, the British authorities said this appeared to have been avoided.

“We haven’t ruled out that this is a state attack”, said Bossert.

Attackers target users via an email phishing scam, according to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

Officials say they’re aware of those problems.

French carmaker Renault said its Douai plant, one of its biggest sites in France employing 5,500 people, would be shut on Monday as systems were upgraded.

Prevention is the best way to avoid becoming a ransomware victim.

WannaCry’s success showed that a large number of organizations are falling behind on patches and that many have legacy systems running old versions of Windows.

But as Asia woke up to the working week on Monday, leading Chinese security-software provider Qihoo 360 said “hundreds of thousands” of computers in the country were hit at almost 30,000 institutions including government agencies.

“I would like to thank everyone at the NHS and other bodies who have been working round the clock to deal with this very serious incident and keep any impact on patient care to an absolute minimum”. In what it said was a “highly unusual” step, Microsoft also agreed to provide the patch for older versions of Windows, including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft responded to the WannaCrypt (WannaCry) ransomware attack that hit computer systems around the world Friday by emphasizing the need for taking precautions to protect against attack and urging governments to stop hoarding exploits for security vulnerabilities.

Nearly 50 United Kingdom health trusts are believed to have been targeted by hackers scrambling data and demanding a ransom in the digital currency Bitcoin in return for making it accessible again and threatening to delete it if they don’t get paid. This allowed a kill switch to take effect, stopping the spread of the attacks.

“We haven’t fully dodged this bullet at all until we’re patched against the vulnerability itself”, Kalember said. The WannaCry software infected computers operating on Microsoft and displayed messages demanding users to pay $300 in bitcoin – type of digital currency widely used online.

Although Wannacry has been able to spread across networks without any user intervention, there will always be a point where one user in an organisation has clicked on an email link or somehow inadvertently kicked off the journey of the virus across their network.

Meanwhile, Eiram is convinced there will be many vulnerabilities in the future that will enable similar ransomware attacks.

“The numbers are still going up”, Wainwright said. Install and use an up-to-date antivirus solution (such as Microsoft Security Essentials). Brad Smith criticized USA intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency, for “stockpiling” software code that can be used by hackers.

The attack is unique, according to Europol, because it combines ransomware with a worm function, meaning once one machine is infected, the entire internal network is scanned and other vulnerable machines are infected.

“Unquestionably, it was criminals who unleashed this malware to make money”. So far, not many people have paid the ransom demanded by the malware, Europol spokesman Jan Op Gen Oorth told The Associated Press.

Following on from the events this weekend, many politicians and commentators have jumped on the fact that NHS funding has been cut in recent years, which may have lead to the weaknesses in the systems.

Some major technology companies, including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc, declined comment on the Microsoft statement.

Security experts work to contain fallout from cyberattacks

 

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