Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Countries Affected by World's Biggest Cyber-Attack

Countries Affected by World's Biggest Cyber-Attack

The latest entry in the growing pantheon of so-called ransomware packages, which silently encrypt a user's files in the background before popping up with a demand for payment in order to release the decryption key, WannaCry - also known as WannaCrypt or Wanna Decryptor - is on the face of it nothing special. The discovery caused Renault to temporary shut down their factories in France.

The Morris worm wasn't malicious, but other nastier variants followed - at first for annoyance, later for criminal purposes, such as stealing passwords.

Darien Huss, a 28-year-old research engineer who helped MalwareTech, agreed the threat was far from over.

Businesses, especially cash strapped ones like health services, often prioritize other things over software and security - some five percent of UK's NHS systems still run Windows XP - and Microsoft has wisely realized that shouting "upgrade to Windows 10!" would be neither welcome, nor helpful. That low-priced move redirected the attacks to the server of Kryptos Logic, the security company he works for. Since its discovery on Friday, some 200,000 individuals and 10, 000 firms have been victimized by the WannaCry Ransomware virus according to Europol.

Bahl maintained that no "major" incidents have been brought to CERT-In's notice yet, but was quick to add that a full assessment of the impact on ground can be made only on Monday when people return to work after the weekend.

It comes after more than 200,000 victims in around 150 countries were infected by the ransomware which originated in the United Kingdom and Spain on Friday before spreading around the world.

The virus, which took control of users' files, spread to 100 countries, including Spain, France and Russian Federation.

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Over the weekend, new cases were reported across Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, according to the New York Times.

Experts say the spread of the virus had been stymied by a security researcher in the U.K. Hackers have issued new versions of the virus that cyber security organizations are actively trying to counter and stamp out. Infections are not yet apparent but numbers are likely to rise as the workweek starts on Monday.

Telefónica: Spanish authorities confirmed the Spanish telecom company Telefónica was one of the targets, though the attack affected only some computers and did not compromise the security of clients' information. The young security researcher-turned-Internet-hero known as MalwareTech chose to investigate and found WannaCrypt was pinging a specific domain, one that was not registered. They published several spy tools developed by the NSA (National Security Agency).

The ministry has announced specific measures that organizations can take to counter the "WannaCry" attack including a specific update to Microsoft operating systems. "Either they are lazy or they just ignore the patches being released or overlook it".

More than 23,000 IP addresses in the People's Republic of China (PRC) show signs of infection, the country's National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center (CNCERT) told Xinhua, the state-run news agency, on Monday.

MalwareTechBlog initiated a kill switch on Friday for the first variant that locked down 20 percent of the United Kingdom. But that's complicated, because hackers need to find security flaws that are unknown, widespread and relatively easy to exploit.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, at a meeting in Italy, said Saturday the attack was a reminder of the importance of cybersecurity.

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