Worldwide ransomware attacks: What we know so far

    • London (AFP) – Security agencies are hunting for those behind a crippling cyberattack which has so far hit hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, including at government agencies, factories and health services.

    • The cyberattacks started Friday and spread rapidly around the globe using a security flaw in Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, an older version that is no longer given mainstream tech support by the US giant.

    • The so-called WannaCry ransomware locks access to user files and in an on-screen message demands payment of $300 (275 euros) in the virtual currency Bitcoin in order to decrypt the files.

    • Victims have been advised by security experts not to pay up

    • The attack is unique, according to policing agency Europol, because it combines ransomware with a worm function, meaning once one machine is infected, the entire internal network is scanned and other vulnerable machines are infected

    • Europol chief Rob Wainwright said computer systems in more than 150 countries were hit, with the majority of organisations affected over the weekend in Europe.

    • Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said in a blog post Sunday that the culprits used a code developed by the US National Security Agency.

    • Smith warned governments against stockpiling such vulnerabilities and said instead they should report them to manufacturers — not sell, store or exploit them, lest they fall into the wrong hands.

    • "An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen," Smith wrote.

    • Europol said on Monday it was continuing to hunt for the culprits behind the unprecedented attack.

    • – How can people protect their computers? –

    • Microsoft took the unusual step of reissuing security patches first made available in March for Windows XP and other older versions of its operating system.

    • Kaspersky said it was seeking to develop a decryption tool "as soon as possible".

    • "It seems that a lot of internet security guys over the weekend did their homework and ran the security software updates," Jan Op Gen Oorth told AFP.

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About Robert Coss

I was made in America by God. I hope you will see the quality of that workmanship.
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