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Latest ransomware attack should be a wake-up call for governments

17 Mai 2017

Analysis of the code inside WannaCry had revealed little, said Lawrence Abrams, editor of the Bleeping Computer security news website, which tracks these malicious threats.

If you're facing a ransom demand and locked out of your files, law enforcement and cybersecurity experts discourage paying ransoms because it gives incentives to hackers and pays for their future attacks. It effectively takes the computer hostage and demands a $300 ransom, to be paid in 72 hours with bitcoin. That's why it's called ransomware. Here is your guide on what is Ransomware WannaCry, Bitcoins and how to protect your Windows laptops and PCs from it. A researcher from Google posted on Twitter that an early version of WannaCrypt from February shared some of the same programming code as malicious software used by the Lazarus Group, the alleged North Korean government hackers behind the destructive attack on Sony 2014 and the theft of $81 million from a Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Fed a year ago.

Microsoft's MS17-010 patch in March covered Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and later versions of Windows.

Consumers are also at risk.

Sixteen National Health Service organizations in the United Kingdom were hit, and some of those hospitals canceled outpatient appointments and told people to avoid emergency departments if possible. But U.K. hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms like Fedex also reported they had come under assault. Yet in an unusual step, they released a patch for those older systems because of the magnitude of the outbreak.

Private hospitals in the city are on high alert following the ransomware attack, although none of them have been affected. Bad guys generally target Windows far more than Apple's operating system because there are vastly more computers running Windows around the world. Install and use an up-to-date antivirus solution (such as Microsoft Security Essentials).

One person helping coordinate banks' response said they were setting up back-up systems for data and introducing security upgrades. The hackers exploited software code from the National Security Agency that leaked online.

The hackers remain anonymous for now, but it appears that they are amateurs.

Meanwhile, new versions of the ransomware have reportedly surfaced, including one without the kill switch exploited by a 22-year-old computer security researcher to shut the attack down. Indeed, security companies saw their stock price rise after news of the hack.

"At the moment, we're in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up", Europol director Rob Wainwright told ITV's Peston on Sunday program.

Computers and networks that hadn't recently updated their systems are still at risk because the ransomware is lurking. WannaCry ransomware has been labelled as one of the largest cyber attacks that has raised questions about the security system online and made people extremely aware of how easy it is to breach the encryptions and take control.

After infecting over two lakh computers in several countries, the global virus attack continued for the third day on Monday, with more reports of hacking pouring in from India, China and Japan as offices re-opened after a tumultuous weekend.

And he defended the Government after a National Audit Office report in November warned that taking money away from NHS services would leave them vulnerable, telling BBC Breakfast it was down to individual trusts to protect against vulnerabilities and insisting they had enough money to protect against cyber attacks.

Latest ransomware attack should be a wake-up call for governments