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20 May 2017, 01:04 | Patty Hardy
Security experts at Symantec, which in the past has accurately identified attacks mounted by the United States, Israel and North Korea, found early versions of the ransomware, called WannaCry, that used tools that were also deployed against Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Bangladesh central bank previous year and Polish banks in February. Ensuring that your Windows operating system is up to date with the most recent security and software updates, which patch any holes and vulnerabilities in the software, makes it much more hard for a hacker to infiltrate your system and networks.
While the NSA has not commented on either the WannaCrypt attack or Microsoft's response, Tom Bossert, President Trump's Homeland Security adviser, said at Monday's daily White House press briefing that the infection rate has been relatively low in the United States compared to other countries, and that no federal systems have been compromised. If they wanted their files decrypted, the program said all they had to do was pay $300 worth of Bitcoin to the specified address.
Other computers potentially at risk are those that have not been receiving regular software updates known as "patches" that Microsoft distributes regularly via Internet.
Since most researchers say that the code used to develop the WannaCry ransomware virus is the same as the code used to develop the 2014 Sony security breach which was backed by North Korea, further investigations are being opened into the attack. Hackers are said to have stolen the tools from the NSA and distributed them via Internet.
However, NHS Digital said only 4.7% of the NHS is now using Windows XP, with the figure decreasing, and a spokesperson told BJ-HC today that no evidence has been found as of yet that patient data was compromised in the cyber attack. "However, the reused code appears to have been removed from later versions of WannaCry, which according to Kaspersky gives less weight to the false flag theory".
The tools behind the attack originated within the NSA.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that will block access to your files unless you pay a ransom. But in this case, according to Kaspersky Lab, the shared code was removed from the versions of WannaCry that are now circulating, which reduces the likelihood of such a "false flag" attempt at misdirection.
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Some ransomware does also sometimes targets backup files, though. In the UK's National Health Service, which was particularly badly hit, at least 47 organisations were affected.
The recent worldwide "WannaCry Ransomware attack", which hit several countries and left victims locked out of their PCs with a promise to restore access if a sum of money was paid, is the latest trending topic on most chats and social conversations.
FedEx, French automaker Renault and Spanish telecommunications firm Telefonica are among those attacked.
Windows 8, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. Hackers will sometimes encourage you to keep your computer on and linked to the network, but don't be fooled. For older versions, Microsoft has issued patches in the wake of WannaCry.
The head of Microsoft has called on governments to stop stockpiling software vulnerabilities, after claiming that Friday's global cyber-attack exploited information stolen from the US National Security Agency. "We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".
Microsoft chief legal officer Brad Smith blamed the NSA's practice of developing hacking methods to use against the US Government's enemies for leaving gaping vulnerabilities.
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