Ransom Threat Seen Spreading in Unprecedented Global Attack

Ransom Threat Seen Spreading in Unprecedented Global Attack

Ransom Threat Seen Spreading in Unprecedented Global Attack

The attack has been found in 150 countries, affecting 200,000 computers, according to Europol, the European law enforcement agency.

An extensive cyberattack struck computers across a wide swath of Europe and Asia on Friday (May 12), and strained the public health system in Britain, where doctors were blocked from patient files and emergency rooms were forced to divert patients.

The phenomenon of companies failing to update their systems has been a persistent security problem for years.

"We've seen the rise of ransomware becoming the principal threat, I think, but this is something we haven't seen before - the global reach is unprecedented", Wainwright said.

Microsoft said the situation was "painful" and that it was taking "all possible actions to protect our customers".

They proposed a plan to improve cyber security that included a replacement of outdated systems "as a matter of urgency", calling its continued use "one of the most pressing issues facing IT infrastructure" in the NHS.

Microsoft distributed a patch two months ago that could have forestalled much of the attack, but in many organizations it was likely lost among the blizzard of updates and patches that large corporations and governments strain to manage.

In the wake of the attack, Microsoft said it had taken the "highly unusual step" of releasing a patch for computers running older operating systems including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.

The Spanish government said several companies including Telefonica had been targeted in ransomware cyberattack that affected the. Its hackers demanded an initial ransom of $300 but later it increased the ransom up to $600 in Bitcoin.

A massive cyberattack brought computers to a halt on Friday and Saturday, the malware affecting over one lakh computers and systems in almost 150 nations worldwide, ranging from the UK National Health Service to a French carmaker with an alliance plant in Chennai, the German railways, the Andhra Pradesh police and entire Russian systems. Backups often are also out of date and missing critical information.

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New versions of the worm are expected, they said, and the extent - and economic cost - of the damage from Friday's attack were unclear. FedEx said it was "experiencing interference", the Associated Press reported.

Europol said a special task force at its European Cybercrime Centre was "specially created to assist in such investigations and will play an important role in supporting the investigation".

In Germany, Deutsche Bahn faced "technical disruptions" on electronic displays at train stations, but travel was unaffected, the company said in a statement on its website.

Ransomware concept background is shown by man.

Since it emerged last Friday (12 May) and ripped through Russian Federation, south-east Asia and most of Europe, major bodies such as the NHS, Renault, Telefónica and MegaFon have been battling to stay up and running.

When the National Security Agency lost control of the software behind the WannaCry cyberattack, it was like "the us 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.

However, there is no clarity yet on whether access is restored upon payment of the amount demanded. This particular worldwide security threat, which hasn't yet run its course, was dismantled by a United Kingdom security expert who activated an address that the "kill switch" in the ransomware was compelled to search for. Instead - if you're able to - download and install Microsoft patch MS17-010, available here, which should work on Windows systems going all the way back to Vista.

Cybersecurity firm Avast said it had identified more than 75,000 ransomware attacks in 99 countries on Friday, making it one of the broadest and most damaging cyberattacks in history.

"Ransomware is traditionally their topic", he said.

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