Hi-Tech

Ransomware attack a 'wakeup call' for governments

Ransomware attack a 'wakeup call' for governments

Last Friday (12th May 2017), we faced the world's most risky ransomware attack.

"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Smith wrote.

Friday's global cyber attack targeted Microsoft operating systems on computers across 100 countries.

Cybersecurity experts say the worm affects computers using Microsoft operating systems and takes advantage of a vulnerability in the software to spread the infection.

The malware behind WannaCry (also called WannaCrypt, Wana Decryptor or WCry) was reported to have been stolen from the NSA in April.

While the NSA has not commented on either the WannaCry attack or Microsoft's response, Tom Bossert, President Trump's Homeland Security advisor discussed at Monday's daily White House press briefing that the infection rate has been relatively low in the USA compared to overseas infection rates, and that no federal systems have been compromised.

The cyber attacks started Friday and spread rapidly around the globe using a security flaw in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, an older version that is no longer given mainstream tech support by the U.S. giant.

This ransomware simply locks up the files on an infected computer and encrypts them so that the owner or authorized user can no longer access them.




Microsoft has responded to the news that the "ransomware" virus dubbed WannaCry locked up more than 200,000 computers around the world. It demands users pay Dollars 300 worth of cryptocurrency Bitcoin to retrieve their files, though it warns that the payment will be raised after a certain amount of time.

What should I do if my computer has been infected?

The malware functions by exploiting a vulnerability in the Windows systems, particularly older ones such as Windows XP.

On the 12th of May 2017, a new strain of the Ransom.CryptXXX (WannaCry) strain of ransomware began spreading, impacting a large number of organisations in Europe, demanding a ransom of $300 to $600 in Bitcoin to be paid by the 15th of May 2017.

Microsoft released a security patch for the vulnerabilities in March.

The People's Daily reported speculation that the attack was meant to target the Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing over the weekend, but Chinese officials haven't confirmed or denied this.

Microsoft references the WannaCry ransomware's source as an vulnerability known by the NSA, noting that similar security holes were revealed on WikiLeaks in documents stolen from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Smith is urging world leaders need to consider following the "same rules applied to weapons in the physical world" for Internet vulnerabilities.


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