At least 100000 groups in 150 countries hit by ransomware

Posted May 18, 2017

A new cyberattack has everyone caused havoc across the world.

The Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center, a non-profit providing support for computer attacks, said 2,000 computers at 600 locations in Japan were reported affected so far. "I am anxious about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn their machines on Monday morning". Security experts say this attack should wake up every corporate board room and legislative chamber around the globe. "In March, we provided a security update which provides additional protections against this potential attack".

They should do this before they open their emails or other programs.

When the National Security Agency lost control of the software behind the WannaCry cyberattack, it was like "the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Microsoft President Brad Smith says, in a message about the malicious software that has created havoc on computer networks in more than 150 countries since Friday.

After taking computers over, the virus displayed messages demanding a payment of 300 dollars in virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock files and return them to the user. They, too, should regularly update with software patches as they're issued. WannaCry is a sophisticated piece of work, he said, which helps rule out the possibility it was released by mere pranksters or lower-level thieves. The healthcare centres in many countries are particularly vulnerable.

He said Europol and other agencies did not yet know who was behind the attack but "normally it is criminally minded and that is our first working theory for obvious reasons". Individuals and organisations were discouraged from paying the ransom, as it was not guaranteed that the access would be restored.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, at a meeting of world leaders in Italy, said the attack was a reminder of the importance of cybersecurity. Lebanon's central bank temporarily suspended electronic transactions as a precaution.

Hackers are threatening the users that if they do not pay within the set deadline they will delete all the files on the users' systems, however, governments are asking the citizens not to pay the ransom, as it would encourage the hackers to go for more such attacks. Patients have had to be turned away because their records were inaccessible.

At this time, it is widely believed to be the biggest online extortion attack in history. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation. The code was leaked as part of a hacked document dump, the experts said. Universities and other schools were among the hardest hit.

Railway stations, mail delivery, gas stations, hospitals, office buildings, shopping malls and government services were affected, the news agency said, citing the Threat Intelligence Center of Qihoo 360, a Chinese internet security services company.