Microsoft says cyberattack should be wake up call for governments

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“Governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call”, Smith wrote.”They need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world”.

After an emergency government meeting Saturday in London, Britain’s home secretary said one in five of 248 National Health Service trusts had been hit.

Avast said the majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan. But these worm attacks became harder to pull off as computer owners and software makers shored up their defenses.

On affected computers, the WannaCry software encrypts files and displays a ransom message demanding $300 in bitcoin.

“Whether or not you think the USA government should be spending a fortune developing such cyberweapons, surely it is obvious that the weapons they develop should be properly secured”.

A young cybersecurity researcher has been credited with helping to halt the spread of the global ransomware attack by accidentally activating a so-called “kill switch” in the malicious software.

However, security researchers say firms that fail to keep their software up-to-date are also responsible for the ransomware outbreak. Microsoft, maker of Windows software, has said that it has released a special update of the software.

The latest virus attack last week exploits a flaw in a version of Microsoft Windows first identified by United States intelligence.

The researcher tweeted that he initially didn’t know that his actions would stop the malware.

“Or we could potentially see copycats mimic the delivery or exploit method they used”, he said.

In a blog post published Sunday, Microsoft president Brad Smith criticized world leaders for stockpiling vulnerabilities to computer systems.

The identity of the Shadow Brokers is not known, though many security researchers say they believe they are in Russian Federation, which is a major source of ransomware and was one of the countries hit first and hardest by WannaCry.

An IT researcher stands next to a giant screen a computer infected by a ransomware at the LHS (High Security Laboratory) of the INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation) in Rennes, on November 3, 2016.

“Some of our customers are running versions of Windows that no longer receive mainstream support”. But U.K. hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms like Fedex also reported they had come under assault. The server operates as a “sinkhole” to collect information about malware – and in Friday’s case kept the malware from escaping. Under current laws, they don’t have to report the flaws to the company at risk. The infected computer screens demand payment for the data to be released. Short of paying, options for these individuals and companies are usually limited to recovering data files from a backup, if available, or living without them.

Security experts say a cyberattack that holds computer data for ransom grew out of vulnerabilities purportedly identified by the National Security Agency. Intelligence officials wouldn’t comment on the authenticity of the claims.

The NSA and other spy agencies look for software vulnerabilities and then build tools to target and exploit them.

Apple is not invulnerable to ransomware attacks, “a common misconception”, one expert tells CNBC.

“It re-enforce the significance of getting Identity and Access Management right, as it was only a matter of time before an attack happened on this large of a scale to take advantage of those organisations who haven’t taken this critical step”.

– How can people protect their computers?

Massive ransomware attack hits 99 countries

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