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Worldwide cyberattack: Here's how to protect yourself

20 May 2017, 09:25 | Bernard Bryant

Worldwide cyberattack: Here's how to protect yourself

Ransomware

The ransomware attack has affected more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries, said Rob Wainwright, head of law enforcement agency Europol.

One of the biggest-ever ransomware attacks continues to take computers hostage.

But the software giant only sent the free security update - or patch - to users of the most recent version of the Windows 10 operating system, the report said.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that takes over a computer and locks the user out, preventing them from accessing any files until they pay money.

A fast-moving ransomware variant has infected thousands of computers in at least 74 countries.

Exploits in the hands of governments have repeatedly leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage, wrote Smith, who compared the leaks of Central Intelligence Agency and NSA vulnerabilities to the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. "We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".

Edward Snowden, the whistleblower and former NSA analyst living in exile in Russian Federation, is a longtime critic of the agency stockpiling vulnerabilities.

As terrifying as the unprecedented global "ransomware" attack was, cybersecurity experts say it's nothing compared to what might be coming - especially if companies, organizations and governments don't make major fixes.

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Kaspersky Lab says that the majority of affected systems were in Russian Federation . Still, it was Microsoft that wrote the exploitable software to begin with.


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CERT-In has advised users to maintain updated antivirus software on all systems and check regularly for the integrity of the information stored in the databases.

Though a British security researcher "MalwareTech" managed to stop the spread of the virus, hackers have issued new versions that cybersecurity organisations are trying to counter.

The cyber criminals, whose identities are still unknown, also rebounded from the kill switch activation by releasing a second variation of the malware.

A massive cyberattack known as WannaCry wreaked havoc all over the world this past weekend, and although this particular ransomware is already dying out, new ones may be cropping up. However, as of this morning, there haven't been any signs of widespread renewed activity.

Russia's largest bank Sberbank said late last week it had been attacked by a virus but that its systems were not infected.

Smith's blog post is somewhat utopian, as the Microsoft exec ignores the fact that creating cyber-weapons is the NSA and CIA's job, as their primary goal is to defend the nation's interests, just like Chinese and Russian cyber-spooks do the same for their nations. The vulnerability was patched for 2 months before WannaCry hit the internet.

"As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems", BBC quoted Smith as saying.



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