Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Global cyber attack a 'wake up call for governments'

But some other technology industry executives said privately that it reflected a widely held view in Silicon Valley that the USA government is too willing to jeopardise internet security in order to preserve offensive cyber capabilities.The NSA did not respond to requests for comment.The NSA and other intelligence services generally aim to balance disclosing software flaws they unearth against keeping them secret for espionage and cyber warfare purposes.

French automaker Renault and its partner, Nissan, say their plants were hit by the attack, NBC reports.

On social media students complained about not being able to access their work, and people in various cities said they hadn't been able to take their driving tests over the weekend because some local traffic police systems were down.

When the National Security Agency lost control of the software behind the WannaCry cyberattack, it was like "the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Microsoft President Brad Smith says, in a message about the malicious software that has created havoc on computer networks in more than 150 countries since Friday. "The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries, and those victims, many of those will be businesses, including large corporations", he said.

Exploits in the hands of governments have repeatedly leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage, wrote Smith, who compared the leaks of Central Intelligence Agency and NSA vulnerabilities to the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. And it became public when it leaked as part of the Shadow Brokers disclosures. "Now the stolen NSA data vulnerability dealt a blow to users worldwide", said brad Smith.

Microsoft released patches last month and on Friday to fix a vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across networks, a rare and powerful feature that caused infections to surge on Friday. But the success of the attack shows that not enough people took advantage of the patch. He adds that governments should report vulnerabilities like the one at the center of the WannaCry attack.

"This was not a tool developed by the NSA to hold ransom data", homeland security adviser Bossert said at Monday's White House briefing. What he then did, was buy the domain name for $10.69, triggering thousands of pings from infected systems and killing the malware. At least one copy of the ransomware has been edited to bypass the "kill switch" functionality.

Researchers remained on high alert for new variants that could lead to a fresh wave of infections.

According to Microsoft Malware Protection Centre, there are different types of ransomware but all of them stop you from using your PC normally, by holding your PC or files "ransom".

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The problem comes from older versions of Windows or those without Windows Updates, as these were not patched by Microsoft and were left open to attacks.

Naturally, there are other basic security considerations that you should bear in mind.

Also, it's good to keep your Internet browser such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, a well as other regularly used software on the PC, constantly up to date.

Ransomware is normally targeted at businesses and important individuals who are generally perceived to have more to lose if they don't pay the ransom. And remember that any account can be compromised.

That means an out-of-date, unsupported operating system is more popular than any version of Windows 8, any version of Mac OS X, and Linux.

Always make sure your files are backed up.

For Word files, the extensions will usually be.doc or.docx while Excel sheets often end with.xls or.xlsx.

Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has come out with list of dos and don'ts and webcast on how to protect networks from the global ransomware attack.

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