Microsoft re-releases security update after cyberattacks

May 16 10:42 2017

Several British hospitals say they are h.

In Russia, government agencies insisted that all attacks had been resolved.

Symantec said the majority of organisations affected were in Europe.

(AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File).

By Friday afternoon, 16 National Health Service (NHS) facilities reported that they were affected by the cyberattack.

It’s not just your computer that you need to be anxious about.

If an attack were carried out by a country rather than independent hackers, those deaths could be seen acts of war.

The security flaw that hackers used to launch the attacks Friday was made public after information was stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency, which routinely searches for flaws in software and builds tools to exploit them.

After an emergency government meeting Saturday in London, Britain’s home secretary said one in five of 248 National Health Service groups had been hit. Russian Federation appeared to be the hardest hit, according to security experts, with the country’s Interior Ministry confirming it was struck.

“The operating systems on our computers and software downloads are managed centrally so that regular users can not download executable files from the internet without administrative rights”, he said in an email.

WannaCry is formulated to ask for a ransom of $300 in the beginning, which would rise to $600, if the victim refuses to pay the ransom during the first 7 days following infection of his/her machine.

Security wonks are calling it the biggest cyberattack ever.

European policing and security agencies said the fallout from a ransomware attack that has already crippled more than 200,000 computers around the world could deepen as people return for another work week.

Computer users who arrive at work on Monday morning should make sure as their first task that their computers have been updated with any security patches.

Most victims were quickly able to recover infected systems with backups, said the group’s chief economist, Scott Borg.

The Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue as part of a trove of hacking tools that they said belonged to the USA spy agency.

Microsoft itself has issued an update of their software to plug the holes but there are lots of computers out there that are not updated for one reason or the other.

In the USA, “the list of victims is very small”, a Department of Homeland Security official tells NPR, noting that it’s still relatively early in the WannaCry attack.

By Kaspersky Lab’s count, the malware struck at least 74 countries.

“WannaCry”, as the ransomware is known, uses a Windows vulnerability originally identified by the NSA, according to security experts.

Hospitals across Britain found themselves without access to their computers or phone systems. Routine appointments had been canceled and ambulances were being diverted to neighboring hospitals. Power utilities also reported problems. “It’s stressful enough for someone going through recovery or treatment for cancer”.

If your computer has been affected, there’s no guarantee that paying the ransom will restore it, Gazeley said.

Spain, meanwhile, took steps to protect critical infrastructure in response to the attack. He said the software attacking a vulnerability had been incorporated with other software and delivered in a way to cause “infection, encryption and locking”.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre and its National Crime Agency were looking into the United Kingdom incidents, which disrupted care at National Health Service facilities.

It remained unclear how many organizations had already lost control of their data to the malicious software – and researchers warned that copycat attacks could follow.

The severity of Wanacrypt has been so devastating that Microsoft developed a fix for out of date versions of its Windows operating systems. The interior ministry said on its website that about 1,000 computers had been infected but it had localized the virus.

British hospitals, Spanish firms among targets of huge cyberattack

Microsoft re-releases security update after cyberattacks
 
 
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