China hit by cyber virus, Europe warns of more attacks

Fernando Stephens
May 19, 2017

Tehan said that Australia's critical infrastructure had also avoided infection.

The Centre on Saturday issued a security alert to computer users, following a wave of cyberattacks that wreaked havoc across the globe.

British technology experts worked through the night to patch the computer systems of the health service after the ransomware worm forced dozens of hospitals to cancel some operations and appointments, Security Minister Ben Wallace said on Monday.

The culprits used a digital code believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency, according to researchers at the Moscow-based computer security firm Kaspersky Lab.

"This ransomware attack is a wake-up call to all Australian businesses to regularly back up their data and install the latest security patches", Mr Tehan said.

MSPs were told that approximately one per cent of computers in the NHS in Scotland were affected by the attack, but no patient data had been lost.

"As a result of the attack, we will be reviewing and further strengthening our system protection arrangements", the spokesperson said.

The malware encrypts files on devices and demands a ransom be paid before they are unlocked.

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With everyone expecting a second spike in cyber attacks he said it was "encouraging" that no fresh attacks were conducted.

In a letter to The Times, Sir David said: "Should Microsoft have stopped supporting Windows XP so soon, knowing that institutions had invested heavily in it (at the urging of the company at the time)?"

The new hacking tool also exploits weaknesses in older versions of Microsoft Windows software and was stolen from the US National Security Agency, like the stolen tool that formed the basis of last week's WannaCry attack. In December it was reported that nearly all NHS trusts were using an obsolete version of Windows that Microsoft had stopped providing security updates for in April 2014.

Labour has accused Heath Secretary Jeremy Hunt of "ignoring the warning signs" that hospitals' ancient computer systems could fall victim to criminals.

Analysts said that cases in China, where the use of pirated software has always been a problem, were likely to be underreported.

When asked if Apple users can not be affected by such cyber-attacks, Aleksandr Yampolskiy, chief executive officer and founder of SecurityScorecard, said on Squawk Box that it is a common misconception.

In other cases, organizations might be stuck with certain systems that run unsupported Windows versions without having the financial resources to upgrade or replace them.

Other reports by BadHub

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