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Global ransomware attack used info stolen from NSA, says Microsoft

18 Mai 2017

For many Americans, the massive cyberattack that stormed across Europe and Asia last Friday seemed literally and geographically half a world away and a comfortable remove from harm's way here.

The effects of the ransomware attack were felt around the world, affecting computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in several countries.

After a malware researcher pressed the kill switch, which we will describe later in this post, the number of detections significantly decreased to approximately 2,000 per hour, late Friday afternoon.

The stock market has reacted, causing shares to surge in security technology firms, and it is believed that the attack will lead to more sales of security products. The basics remain true when it comes to defence mechanisms and cybersecurity companies that are selling such protective products. The attack will remove any files that the computer can see. But what can you do, as a simple consumer, to protect yourself against such a powerful ransomware attack? Firewalls and keeping software updated can also help.

While things could certainly change, users of other Windows versions should be safe, though now is a great time to open the Windows Update Center and ensure that all of your security updates have been installed. But that's why you must be on your guard and be wary of any suspicious emails or attachments. Most importantly, take back-ups. Not only does this encourage the creators to keep spreading the infection but it also doesn't guarantee your data gets returned anyway.

Following the flurry of reports of the attack, the chief of global and legal affairs at Iran's Cyber Police warned that the "ransomware", which has affected countless computer systems worldwide, has done the same to some systems inside the country.

Not being able to access patient records was a huge problem for United Kingdom hospitals was a huge problem over the weekend, but the scenarios could be much worse in the future, when robotics could be used to perform increasingly important tasks. Adylkuzz, discovered at the beginning of May, used the same exploitations and leaks, but was a much larger attack that used infected computers to mine for cryptocurrency rather than demand it from users.

An analysis by The Register revealed that the patches weren't new, though, and had been around since February 2017.

India has more Internet connections and the scale of Ransomware attacks is likely to increase two-three times in the coming days so caution is advised before accepting any random mail from an unknown user. The attacks exploited the computers because they were running outdated versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system. "Even without having an antivirus", they said.

Ransomware is a sophisticated piece of malware that blocks the victim's access to his/her files, and the only way to regain access to the files is to pay a ransom.

Global ransomware attack used info stolen from NSA, says Microsoft