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19 May 2017, 09:19 | Todd Saunders
Not to mention the fact that those responsible were able to borrow weaponized software code apparently created by the U.S. National Security Agency to launch the attack in the first place.
However, can investors also profit from cyber attacks, something long identified as a "megatrend" alongside the likes of demographics, climate change and urbanisation?
In a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft President Brad Smith appeared to tacitly acknowledge what researchers had already widely concluded: The ransomware attack leveraged a hacking tool built by the U.S. National Security Agency, that leaked online in April.
The company's top lawyer said the government should report weaknesses they discover to software companies rather than seek to exploit them.
"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on Wikileaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world", Smith said in a statement. Thankfully, a young security researcher accidentally activated the WannaCry's kill switch by registering the nonsensical domain name it uses to call home.
In Hong Kong, Gazeley said his team had found a new version of the worm that didn't use e-mail to lure victims.
I think theres going to be a lot of infections Monday morning, said Ofer Israeli, chief executive of Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity firm Illusive Networks. "We haven't fully dodged this bullet at all until we're patched against the vulnerability itself".
The attack has left many victims wondering if they should pay the ransom, which in most cases amounts to about $300.
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The malware spread quickly on Friday, with medical staff in the United Kingdom reportedly seeing computers go down "one by one". The WannaCry pandemic is thus a win-win situation for Microsoft, which will only end up minting more money from the fiasco.
He said an increasing number of healthcare providers are becoming aware of the risks and trying to take action. "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".
Other high-profile victims include hospitals in Britain, the Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, French carmaker Renault, US package delivery company FedEx, Russia's interior ministry and the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn.
One of the first "attacks" on the internet came in 1988, when a graduate student named Robert Morris Jr. released a self-replicating and self-propagating program known as a "worm" onto the then-nascent internet. Many may click infected email attachments or bad links and spread the virus further.
It was too early to say who was behind the onslaught, which struck 100,000 organizations, and what their motivation was, aside from the obvious demand for money.
Trying to instil confidence among people, electronics and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said the ongoing cyberattack by ransomware WannaCrypt had almost zero impact in India. Smith noted that the company released a security update to patch the flaw exploited by the WannaCry virus back in March.
Microsoft took the unusual step late Friday of making free patches available for older Windows systems, such as Windows XP from 2001. Once installed, the malware just locks up that computer without spreading to other machines. "They're just a huge organisation which has had insufficient investment in computer security over the years".
That flaw was exploited by a tool called EternalBlue and patched by Microsoft in mid-March, but those who did not apply the update were still open to attack, resulting in the mammoth attack starting Friday that infected 48 UK National Health Service trusts, FedEx, Telefonica, Renault and Nissan vehicle manufacturing plants, U.S. universities, Russian governments and Chinese ATMs, among many other systems across 150 countries, Bloomberg reported.
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