No second spike in cyber attacks is 'encouraging': British minister

@malwaretechblog's accidental kill switch and the arrival of the weekend gave individuals and organizations some room to breathe.

The ransomware, called "WannaCry", targets vulnerabilities in Windows, for which Microsoft had released a security patch in March.

Organizations running older Windows software couldn't patch immediately because there was no patch available. In past ransomware attacks, some victims have paid, only to find the key they are given doesn't work, while others have found their files are corrupted and can't be properly restored, he said. In this case, the attackers are asking for at least $300 in bitcoins for each computer affected by the attack.

"The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits", Europe's police agency, Europol said. "We've seen that the slowdown of the infection rate over Friday night, after a temporary fix around it, has now been overcome by a second variation the criminals have released". Russian Federation was the country worst affected, with computers at the nation's interior ministry getting targeted. "The next couple of days, we will be on alert on this", Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), director general, Sanjay Bahl told PTI.

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Companies and institutions are often slow to update their computers because it can screw up internal software that is built to work with a certain version of Windows. Those affected should not pay ransom and instead inform CERT-In, the advisory added. The security researcher has posted an online account of finding the kill switch, which was also posted to the United Kingdom government's National Cyber Security Centre website.

Following a meeting of the Government's Cobra contingencies committee, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said more than a million patients had been treated in the course of Monday. At the helm of it all, was an advisory for governments around the world - particularly the U.S. government - to stop stockpiling of vulnerabilities.

"[The] worldwide ransomware attack shows what can happen when the NSA or Central Intelligence Agency write malware instead of disclosing the vulnerability to the software manufacturer", Lieu said in a statement.

"The WannaCrypt exploits used in the attack were drawn from the exploits stolen from the National Security Agency", Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith says. "An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen". Let Windows Update run its course, and then restart the system.

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The ministry has announced measures that organisations can take to counter the attack including a specific update to Microsoft operating systems.

NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden also took to Twitter to lambast the NSA. This attack has impacted many large services and organizations, including hospitals in England, a telecom and natural gas company in Spain, and FedEx. "There's no waving that away", he said. (You may have to change the Control Panel "view" to Small Icons in the upper-right corner.) The resulting page should tell you which version of Windows you're using, and whether it's the x86 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) operating system. The first step is, obviously, to stay cautious.

Beware of unknown emails, especially if there are attachments or links. That's like the basic 101 to avoid any cyber-attack. But many corporations don't automatically update their systems, because Windows updates can screw up their legacy software programs. Software giant Microsoft was quoted by BBC saying that the recent cyber attack that has hit over 150 countries in the last week should be considered as a "wake-up call". "Since this WannaCry attack has been so effective thus far, it is quite likely that this is the first of many ransomware attacks that leverage exploits to effectively spread their payloads throughout the Internet".

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