World's biggest cyberattack hits 150 countries, the threat is 'escalating'

World's biggest cyberattack hits 150 countries, the threat is 'escalating'

The cyberextortion attack hitting dozens of countries spread quickly and widely thanks to an unusual confluence of factors: a known and highly risky security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and a software design that allowed the malware to spread quickly once inside university, business and government networks.

Russia's Interior Ministry released a statement Friday acknowledging a ransomware attack on its computers, adding that less than 1% of computers were affected, and that the virus was now "localized" and being destroyed. What's worse, those responsible were able to borrow a weaponized "exploit", apparently created by the U.S. National Security Agency, to launch the attack in the first place.

Chris Wysopal of the software security firm Veracode said criminal organizations were probably behind the attack, given how quickly the malware spread. These are all names for the world's largest ever ransomware development, in which 150 countries hosted more than 200,000 attacks.

One need not use an administrator account on their computer, you can just use a guest account with limited privileges.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, said yesterday in a blog post that his company, its customers and the government all share the blame, the report said.

"It's an global attack and a number of countries and organizations have been affected", she said.

In the United Kingdom, hospitals were crippled by the cyberattack, which forced operations to be canceled and ambulances to be diverted.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, at a meeting in Italy, said Saturday the attack was a reminder of the importance of cybersecurity. "We don't know when the problem can be solved", said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Updating software will take care of some vulnerability.

"The numbers are still going up", Wainwright said. It locks the user out in order to prevent them from accessing any saved files until they pay a certain amount of money.

The hacking tool was leaked by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which has been dumping stolen NSA hacking tools online beginning previous year.

More news: No 'clean slate' between the U.S. and Russia, Tillerson says

Microsoft distributed a patch for the software vulnerability two months ago, but not all computer users and networks worldwide had yet made that update, and thus were highly vulnerable.

Globally active ransomware virus has partially affected the computer systems in some institutions in Maharashtra, including that of its police department, a police official said here today. Machines that contained the patch are much less at risk than those that didn't.

They proposed a plan to improve cyber security that included a replacement of outdated systems "as a matter of urgency", calling its continued use "one of the most pressing issues facing IT infrastructure" in the NHS. Wainwright said Europol did not know the motive.

At the moment, all PCs that do not have the latest Microsoft security updates are vulnerable to attack by the ransomware.

WannaCry has already caused massive disruption around the globe.

Most of the photos shared online are actually public displays of which the connected machines have been compromised, but perhaps the most dramatic example of unhatched machines was in the UK's National Health Service which runs their hospitals. It needs to make it easier to keep those systems updated and secure.

How To Protect Yourself From WannaCry Ransomware?

Analysts said you should not click the "check payment" or "decrypt" buttons in the popup message. The effects were felt across the globe, with Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica, FedEx Corp.in the USA and French carmaker Renault all reporting disruptions.

When CNNTech first reported the Microsoft vulnerabilities leaked in April, Hickey said they were the "most damaging" he'd seen in several years, and warned that businesses would be most at risk.

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