Microsoft's President Reflects On Cyberattack, Helping Pirates And The NSA

Posted May 18, 2017

A Twitter bot reportedly tracking the bitcoin wallets ransomware victims are instructed to send money to most recently updated that so far 181 payments, totaling about $50,500, have been sent.

The government is not legally bound to notify at-risk companies. "It's a malicious software programme that's used, either by an individual or by an organised criminal group, to extort money from an affected user", says Amit Nath, Head of Asia Pacific - Corporate Business, at F-Secure Corporation.

Problems with cyber security in NHS organisations were highlighted a year ago by Dame Fiona Caldicott, the national data guardian, who warned that issues were given insufficient priority and that health bodies persisted in using obsolete computer systems, The Times said.

According to Microsoft (MSFT.O), computers affected by the so-called "ransomware" did not have security patches for various Windows versions installed or were running Windows XP, which the company no longer supports.

In Japan, several large manufacturers have been hit, reporter John Matthews tells NPR: "Companies including Hitachi have reported several of their systems going down, including computers at a hospital in eastern Japan".

Security researchers on Monday said it bore the technical hallmarks of a North Korean hacking, though the evidence remained inconclusive.

"My answer is, never pay the ransom", Lawrence Abrams, a New York-based blogger who runs BleepingComputer.com told The Associated Press. The only regional country that seems to have been affected is Iran, where it has been reported that up to 2000 computers were impacted. "At that point, it will be harder to stop new variants".

ALSO READ: Ransomeware attack: Why do WannaCry hackers demand bitcoin?

Qihoo 360, one of China's leading suppliers of anti-virus software, said on Sunday that at least 29,372 institutions ranging from government offices to ATMs and hospitals had been "infected", singling out universities as particularly hard-hit.

The governments of the world need to treat Friday's cyber attack as a wake up call and take a different approach to prevent cyber attacks, writes Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft, in his blog.

Brad Smith, the technology firm's president and chief legal officer, criticised U.S. intelligence agencies the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) for "stockpiling" software code which could be exploited by hackers.

The malware behind WannaCry (also called WannaCrypt, Wana Decryptor or WCry) was reported to have been stolen from the NSA in April. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies worldwide say it's too early to determine who is behind this. However, it also reported that the actual cost paid in ransom was expected to be negligible.

A security expert in England has been hailed as an "accidental hero" for quashing the spread of the initial version of the ransomware late Friday.

The newspaper said that the role of the USA security apparatus in the attack should "instill greater urgency" in China's mission to replace foreign technology with its own.

Dowling notes unplugging an infected computer may not solve the problem with recent ransomware attacks, but isolating the infected computer is important.