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Cyber chaos may grow at workweek's start

19 Mai 2017

The ransomware threat is likely to claim more victims today, as people head back to work.

The ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users' access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

NZ cyber security officials say they'll be staying vigilant with the working week starting tomorrow. Europol, the European Union's police agency, said the onslaught was at "an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits". "But at the same time, I also know that if you're someone who's been affected and you've lost all your children's photographs or you've lost all your data or you lost your thesis, sometimes $300 is worth it, you know?"

"Unlike most other attacks, this malware is spreading primarily by direct infection from machine to machine on local networks, rather than purely by email", said Lance Cottrell, chief scientist at the US technology group Ntrepid.

The cyberattack that spread malicious software around the world, shutting down networks at hospitals, banks and government agencies.

A global cyber attack leveraging hacking tools that has struck computers across Europe and Asia is believed to have infected its first Australian business, the federal government says.

At least one hospital was affected, according to police.

It is the largest ransomware attack observed in history. But U.K. hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms like Fedex also reported they had come under assault.

"We're in the face of an escalating threat".

Europol's Wainwright underscored the point Sunday. With regards to the recent ransomware attack, the NSA alerted Microsoft to the vulnerabilities in their operating platforms.

The pace of attacks by the WannaCry "ransomware" slowed late on May 12.

Microsoft is now confirming that the WannaCrypt exploits used in the attack on Friday were drawn from the trove of exploits stolen from the NSA.

Microsoft released a security patch for the vulnerabilities in March.

"The reason this is hitting so many computers at once is that they discovered a vulnerability in the most popular operating system in the world, in Microsoft windows", said John Carlin, former assistant attorney general for national security and an ABC News contributor.

But around a fifth of NHS trusts were hit in the attack, forcing them to postpone operations and procedures over the weekend and more could be revealed when people return to work this morning.

Instead, the simple update that could have prevented the attack left them vulnerable to security breaches. He added that ransomware attacks were normally criminal rather than political in nature.

WannaCry has already caused massive disruption around the globe.

"You're only safe if you patch ASAP", the researcher said on Twitter. Security agencies in affected countries were racing to find out. These institutions had not upgraded to the new Windows system, which has a patch that guards against malware. Two big telecom companies, Telefónica of Spain and Megafon of Russian Federation, were also hit.

Russia's interior ministry said 1,000 of its computers had been infected but the virus was swiftly dealt with and no sensitive data was compromised.

TechBlog, said registering a domain name used by the malware stops it from spreading, though it can not help computers already affected.

United Kingdom defense secretary Michael Fallon said Sunday that Britain's nuclear submarines were safe from cyberattack.

Cyber chaos may grow at workweek's start