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Microsoft says WannaCrypt attack a wake-up call


A red-coloured critical alert has been issued in connection with the WannaCry attack that hit over 90,000 systems across 75 countries across the world including India. The WannaCry hack threatens to delete users' encrypted files in a week if a ransom of $300 isn't met - doubled if the payment isn't made in within three days.

The massive ransomware campaign specifically targeted the healthcare industry.

Because of its success infiltrating systems, the software - also known as WannaCrypt, Wana Decryptor or WCry - is already inspiring imitators.

"Clearly having the vulnerability be in Microsoft software was one of the key elements", said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer of McAfee, a security company in Santa Clara, California.

"The U.S.is still in a relatively good place - I don't want to jinx it", the official says. "They've been able to manage through it".

Morgan Stanley, in upgrading the stock, said Cisco should benefit from network spending driven by security needs. Those include a known and highly unsafe security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and malware created to spread quickly once inside university, business and government networks.

Some victims were using computers that run on Windows XP, a 16-year-old operating system.

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"Technology companies owe their customers a reliable process for patching security vulnerabilities, " he said.

"More than 40,000 businesses and institutions in China have been struck by the malware, according to state media", Rob says. "However, Hitachi and others have mostly only reported loss of email and other secondary functionalities". However, it is understood that a few systems of the police department in Andhra Pradesh were impacted. Power utilities also reported problems.

The string is two samples of code which share similarities: one is from a WannaCry encryptor example from February this year, and the other is a Lazarus APT group sample from February 2015.

"The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits", Europol's European Cybercrime Center says.

"This decision was made based on an assessment of this situation, with the principle of protecting our customer ecosystem overall, firmly in mind", Phillip Misner, Principal Security Group Manager at Microsoft Security Response Centert stated in an advisory on WannaCry.

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

While the SMB exploit that enables the WannaCry ransomware worm to easily spread was taken from the Shadow Brokers, the actual code in the ransomware has a different origin. But the success of the attack shows that not enough people took advantage of the patch.

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Bossert said the USA government doesn't make a recommendation on paying ransom. He noted there was no indication the cyber attack had resulted in widespread disclosure of personal data. Use a reputable security software to prevent attacks in the future. "Phishing remains the most common vector for ransomware, but does not yet appear to have been used in this instance", said Pat Moran, PwC cyber leader.

Over the weekend new versions have emerged without the kill switch. The tools appeared stolen by hackers, who dumped them on the internet.

At least one strain of the ransomware has proven especially vicious.

"[People] should be thinking about this as an attack that for right now we (have) got under control", said Bossert, in an interview with ABC News on Monday.

Though Microsoft released a security update in March to patch the vulnerability on modern versions of Windows, the company quickly released another security update this weekend to address the security exploit on Windows XP, 8 and Server 2003.

Back up your computer and store the safety version in the cloud or on a drive that's not connected to your computer.

Keep security software up to date. And remember that any account can be compromised. The malicious software infects a computer and restricts users' access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

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Always make sure your files are backed up. Stay away from file extensions like '.exe', '.vbs' and '.scr'.

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