Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Africa least hit by WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack

It makes use of a Microsoft Windows vulnerability, known as Eternal Blue, developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) as part of its arsenal of hacking tools.

Read the full New York Times report here.

A young British cyber security expert who thwarted many attacks was hailed as a hero after he triggered a "kill switch" by buying and activating a domain that the malware had been programmed to connect infected computers to.

The Shadow Brokers eventually called it quits in January and disabled its online accounts, only to return in April in a surprise move that involved publishing the password for an encrypted archive containing many Linux and Windows exploits, as well as malware implants supposedly used by the Equation. In 2016, thousands of computers in 42 separate NHS trusts in England were reported to be still running on Windows XP.

'The scale of this ransomware attack underscores the vulnerabilities of the global digital economy, ' said Thomas Fitzgerald, associate fund manager at EdenTree Investment Management.

"There's nothing you can do but pay once you're hit", Camacho said in an interview.

By Friday afternoon, 16 National Health Service (NHS) facilities reported that they were affected by the cyberattack. At least 1,600 USA organizations have been infected with the ransomware, including FedEx, Forbes reports.

A FedEx spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that it was among the victims of the attack. The company has been working on transitioning to such built-in technology from its now deprecated EMET exploit mitigation tool, something we've hoped Microsoft would do even before releasing Windows 10. "It's incredibly important that any unpatched systems are patched as quickly as possible".

Brazilian President Michel Temer, accused of bribery, says he will not resign
The main Sao Paulo share index closed down 9% and the Brazilian currency suffered its worst day in 14 years. A former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, faces several corruption trials related to the probe.

In the US, "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. "So, I was panicking looking through the code and I realized that actually no, we had stopped it".

Microsoft on Friday issued a statement on how customers on all of its platforms can fight the virus.

Experts anticipated that an update to the malware could be released, therefore increasing its spread.

Researchers from a variety of security firms say they have so far failed to find a way to decrypt files locked up by WannaCry and say chances are low anyone will succeed.

The leaks, and the global WannaCry ransomware attack that they led to, have renewed debate over how and when intelligence agencies should disclose vulnerabilities used in cyber spying programs so that businesses and consumers can better defend themselves.

There were 213,000 infected machines in 112 countries on Monday morning (local time), according to Czech security firm Avast, making it one of the largest coordinated attacks to hit computers across the world.

Last Friday, stolen NSA malware was used to attack hospitals, universities, and businesses around the world, ultimately hitting hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries, including the USA, reaching what Europol-Europe's leading police agency-described as an "unprecedented level".

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