Microsoft warns: Ransomware cyber-attack a wake-up call

Amos Gonzales
May 19, 2017

Then hours later, it destroyed victims' computer files.

The government is not legally bound to notify at-risk companies. Both said Russian Federation was hit hardest.

New versions of the worm are expected, the experts said, and the extent - and economic cost - of the damage from Friday's attack were unclear. The ransomware was created to repeatedly contact an unregistered domain in its code.

University of Melbourne computing expert Dr Suelette Dreyfus believes it was possible local organisations had been hit, only they're keeping it under wraps. Copycat attacks could follow.

Local daily El Mundo said hundreds of PCs of Telefonica employees had been infected by the WCry 2.0 ransomware, also known as WannaCry or WanaCrypt0r.

Mr MacGibbon said people should also be backing up their data on a USB or disk that is kept separate and not connected to their computer.

The ransomware locks down computers and has been demanding payments of $US300 ($AU406) to $US600 ($AU812) to restore access. The exploit was leaked last month as part of a trove of NSA spy tools.

Dr Dreyfus said Windows computers that don't have the latest security patches were vulnerable to the bug, urging Australians to ensure their antivirus software was up to date.

Justice secretary Michael Matheson said: "Friday's attack has highlighted the need for everyone to have appropriate and robust measures in place to protect against cyber-attacks which could strike any IT system at any time".

The patches won't do any good for machines that have already been hit.

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"We're in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up", he said, adding that the current attack was unprecedented.

Investigators from around the globe, including the National Crime Agency, are working to hunt down those responsible for the virus.

Wainwright said Europol provided free downloads of decryption programmes for most ransomware.

At least one Australian business has fallen victim to the attack and there are investigations into two other reports, the federal government says.

As almost 45 NHS organisations from London to Scotland were hit in the "ransomware" attack on Friday, patients of the state-funded countrywide service faced chaos as appointments and surgeries had to be cancelled.

The trust which runs Boston, Grantham and Lincoln hospitals is still affected today (Monday) following Friday's cyber attack.

Russia's Interior Ministry acknowledged a ransomware attack on its computers. Microsoft requires Windows 10 customers to automatically update their computers, but some people with older PCs disabled automatic updates.

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

The NHS says it employs more than 1.5 million people, making it one of the world's biggest employers alongside the US Department of Defence, Walmart and the Chinese army.

Consumers who have up-to-date software are protected from this ransomware.

Other reports by BadHub

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