Cyberattack is 'wake-up call' for governments

Cyberattack is 'wake-up call' for governments

(P. Goezelt/dpa via AP).

"But this is one in which what's broken is the system by which we fix".

Officials across the globe scrambled over the weekend to catch the culprits behind a massive ransomware worm that disrupted operations at vehicle factories, hospitals, shops and schools, while Microsoft on Sunday pinned blame on the U.S. government for not disclosing more software vulnerabilities.

Authorities across the world have issued public alerts warning computer users to beware of suspicious emails and beef up their computer security measures. Dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion.

According to reports, when the WannaCry ransomware started spreading, many infected devices were running "end-of-life" versions of Windows, including Windows XP. Bad guys generally target Windows far more than Apple's operating system because there are vastly more computers running Windows around the world. The malware spreads through e-mail. But it appears to be "low-level" stuff, Eisen said Saturday, given the amount of ransom demanded - US$300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.

"I still expect another to pop up and be fully operational", Kalember said.

"We haven't fully dodged this bullet at all until we're patched against the vulnerability itself", Kalember said.

On Friday, at least 16 hospitals in the United Kingdom were forced to divert emergency patients after computer systems there were infected with Wanna.

"India is getting hit hard by such attacks as the country has a large number of Windows users who do not have proper security patches and rely on inadequate internet security", said Sanjay Katkar, MD and CTO at Quick Heal Technologies, told BusinessLine.

NSA does not discuss its capabilities, and some computer experts say the MS17-010 exploit was developed by unknown parties using the name Equation Group (which may also be linked to NSA). "We've seen that the slowdown of the infection rate over Friday night, after a temporary fix around it, has now been overcome by a second variation the criminals have released".

Outside of the damage being done by blocking access to essential services, financial repercussions, and productivity slowdowns, this is an worldwide incident that is likely causing diplomatic rifts with our allies.

Chinese media reported Sunday that students at several universities were hit, blocking access to their thesis papers and dissertation presentations.

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Russia's Interior Ministry released a statement acknowledging a ransomware attack on its computers, adding that less than 1% of computers were affected, and that the virus is now "localized".

They were infiltrated by the malicious software, while many others shut down servers as a precautionary measure.

"Using outdated versions of Windows that are no longer supported raises a lot of questions", said Christopher Dore, a lawyer specializing in digital privacy law at Edelson PC.

It was too early to say who was behind the onslaught, which struck 100,000 organizations, and what their motivation was, aside from the obvious demand for money.

People have paid out "only" $50,000 worth of bitcoin. He says Chinese security companies have been offering their help.

The ransomware exploited a security hole in Windows XP, a 15-year-old operating system that Microsoft stopped updating in 2014.

Installing the patch is one way to secure computers against the virus.

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call", Smith wrote while also noting how "cybersecurity has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers."But he also blamed the governments".

"It's one of those things, in a flawless world, if people were up to date on the patches, this wouldn't be a problem", O'Leary said. The patch lists can be ginormous.

MalwareTech told the BBC: "It's very important that people patch their systems now".

Associated Press writer Sylvia Hui reported this story in London and AP writer Christopher S. Rugaber reported from Washington.

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