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Microsoft slams government secrecy after 'wake-up call'

16 Mai 2017

Europol Director Rob Wainwright said that the threat from WannaCry was more deadly, as a ransomware combined the properties and functionalities of a worm to become more infectious, and the infection is spreading automatically, on an auto-pilot.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, at a meeting of world leaders in Italy, said the attack was a reminder of the importance of cybersecurity. "They've been able to manage through it".

Governments and private security firms said on Saturday that they expected hackers to tweak the malicious code used in Friday's attack, restoring the ability to self-replicate.

Businesses and networks across Asia are coping with the first wave of WannaCry during their workweek.

Many countries are racing to create more cyber weapons. The company's operating system, Windows, was the target of a massive cyberattack that took down hundreds of thousands of computers across 150 countries.

"When any technique is shown to be effective, there are nearly always copycats", said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer of McAfee, a security company in Santa Clara, California.

A Jakarta hospital said on Sunday that the cyber virus had infected 400 computers, disrupting the registration of patients and finding records.

A recent report from Telegraph indicates that the behind the WannaCry cyber attacks aren't isolated within the USA alone. "On China's most prestigious college campuses, students reported being locked out of their final papers". Train systems were hit in Germany and Russian Federation, and phone companies in Madrid and Moscow. "However, Hitachi and others have mostly only reported loss of email and other secondary functionalities".

The NHS was one of many major global organisations affected, with 47 trusts hit.

The U.K. government's cyber office put it succinctly: "T$3 he way these attacks work means that compromises of machines and networks that have already occurred may not yet have been detected, and that existing infections from the malware can spread within networks".

French automaker Renault and its partner, Nissan, say their plants were hit by the attack, NBC reports.

He said, "The global reach is unprecedented".

Also enjoying strong protection from liability over the cyber attack is the U.S. National Security Agency, whose stolen hacking tool is believed to be the basis for WannaCry. "Now the stolen NSA data vulnerability dealt a blow to users worldwide", said brad Smith. But then they don't benefit from the kind of security patches Microsoft released after the NSA breach. "And they're taking advantage of it".

Chinese tech firm Qihoo 360 said the rate of infection on Monday had slowed significantly from the past two days.

"This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem", he said. But that's complicated, because hackers need to find security flaws that are unknown, widespread and relatively easy to exploit.

The "kill" function had not been activated by whoever unleashed the ransomware, and the researcher found that the secret URL had not been registered to anyone by worldwide internet administrators.

Security experts said there is little chance the victims will regain access to their files, even if they do pay, because of the way WannaCry is designed.

Experts say the spread of the virus had been stymied by a security researcher in the United Kingdom hackers have issued new versions of the virus that cyber security organizations are actively trying to counter and stamp out.

Experts urged organizations and companies to immediately update older Microsoft operating systems, such as Windows XP, with a patch released by Microsoft Corp.to limit vulnerability to a more powerful version of the malware or to future versions that can't be stopped.

Other tips: consider installing security software if you don't have it already, back up your computer to the cloud or external hard drive. And that's for a simple reason: Individuals and organizations alike are fundamentally bad about keeping their computers up-to-date with security fixes. Bank officials were asked not open any mails from unidentified sources.They were also asked to exercise caution in opening attachments or URL links sent in mails.

Microsoft slams government secrecy after 'wake-up call'