WannaCry Ransomware: Microsoft Calls Out NSA For 'Stockpiling' Vulnerabilities

How a ransomware attack can affect emergency services
How a ransomware attack can affect emergency services
Author

18 May, 2017

In a blog post, the US tech giant recalled that it had published an update in March to address the weakness exploited in Friday's attacks, a security flaw exposed in documents leaked from the US National Security Agency.

Urging businesses and computer users to keep their systems current and updated, Smith says the WannaCry attack shows the importance of collective action to fight cybercrime.

"Expect to hear a lot more about this tomorrow morning when users are back in their offices and might fall for phishing emails" or other as yet unconfirmed ways the worm may propagate, said Christian Karam, a Singapore-based security researcher.

Authorities fear another wave of the "WannaCry" ransomware could hit systems as people return to work and switch on their computers.

Government agencies and universities were among those hit as well as petrol stations, ATMs and hospitals, said the firm, one of China's leading software security providers.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said there weren't any concerns about damage in the country.

"We are experiencing a major IT disruption and there are delays at all of our hospitals", it said.

There are several factors in play. The Windows vulnerability in question was purportedly identified by the NSA for its own intelligence-gathering purposes.

Although a temporary fix earlier slowed the infection rate, the attackers had now released a new version of the virus, he said.

Rudiantara was speaking to reporters following reports that records and billing systems in at least one hospital in the country had been crippled. Now that this "WannaCry" malware is out there, the world's computer systems are vulnerable to a degree they haven't been before, unless people everywhere move quickly to install Microsoft's security patches.

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Over the weekend the world was infected by malicious ransomware known as "WannaCrypt".

"Both staff and patients were frankly pretty appalled that somebody, whoever they are, for commercial gain or otherwise, would attack a health care organization", he said.

The organization predicts that the problem could be "at a significant scale" because some infected machines haven't yet been detected, and existing infections can spread within networks. The continued leak of information about the holes in technology firms' software has anxious the companies.

Grafi said his firm has been contacted by companies that are scrambling to avoid potential pitfalls. What started as a curious attempt to investigate the ransomware's origin accidentally triggered part of the malicious code that told it to stop spreading.

Symantec said the majority of organisations affected were in Europe.

Kaspersky Lab says although the WannaCry ransomware can infect computers even without the vulnerability, EternalBlue is "the most significant factor" in the global outbreak. It said it believed the difficulties are linked to the global cyberattack but they haven't so far harmed its business operations. "Remarkably few payments" had so far been made in response to this attack, he added.

He also said that the attack is an example of "why stockpiling vulnerabilities by the government is such a problem". Computer courses are among the most popular in the country, although many graduates are working overseas.

In India, there were reports of some systems of Andhra Pradesh police being affected on Saturday, although CERT-In has said that the PCs were isolated and not on a network. Spokesman Petr Lidov told CNN that it affected call centers but not the company's networks.

Becky Pinkard, from Digital Shadows, a UK-based cyber-security firm, told AFP news agency that it would be easy for the initial attackers or "copy-cat authors" to change the virus code so it is hard to guard against.

Sixteen National Health Service organizations in the United Kingdom were hit, and some of thosehospitals canceled outpatient appointments and told people to avoid emergency departments if possible.


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