Ransomware Cyber-Attack A Wake-Up Call, Microsoft Warns

Ransomware Cyber-Attack A Wake-Up Call, Microsoft Warns

Reuters reported that employees of Britain's National Health Service were warned about the ransomware threat earlier Friday.

"Affected machines have six hours to pay up and every few hours the ransom goes up", said Kurt Baumgartner, the principal security researcher at security firm Kaspersky Lab. "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".

The malware was circulated by e-mail; targets were sent an encrypted, compressed file that, once loaded, allowed the ransomware to infiltrate its targets.

The attack is a virus that locks people out of their computer files until they pay a ransom to the hackers.

"I still expect another to pop up and be fully operational", Kalember said. So far approximately 200,000 computers in over 150 countries have been impacted, making this the largest worldwide ransomware attack to date. The perpetrators demand money in return for unlocking encrypted data.

The attack on the National Health Service seemed perhaps the most audacious of the attacks, because it had life-or-death implications for hospitals and ambulance services.

Chinese media reported on Sunday that students at several universities were hit, blocking access to their thesis papers and dissertation presentations.

Had it not been for a young British cybersecurity researcher's accidental discovery of a so-called "kill switch", the malicious software likely would have spread much farther and faster.

But security minister Ben Wallace said the Government had put £1.2 billion into combating cyber attacks during the last strategic defence and security review, including a £50 million pot to support NHS IT networks. That cheap move redirected the attacks to MalwareTech's server, which operates as a "sinkhole" to keep malware from escaping.




NHS Digital, which oversees United Kingdom hospital cybersecurity, says the attack used the Wanna Decryptor variant of malware, which infects and locks computers while the attackers demand a ransom. They, too, should regularly update with software patches as they're issued. "It should just be a case of making sure installing updates is enabled, installing the updates, and reboot".

The malicious software behind the onslaught appeared to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was supposedly identified by the National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes and was later leaked to the internet. The NSA tools were stolen by hackers and dumped on the internet.

With ransomware attacks on the rise and now crescendoing with this most recent attack, we can only hope that IT departments will soon get the resources they need to keep their systems and networks secure from future attacks.

"The big thing out here is the fact that ransomware was coupled with a spreading mechanism which impacted organizational networks", Vikram Thakur, technical director at Symantec (SYMC), said regarding the ransomware wave.

Microsoft said it had taken the "highly unusual step" of releasing a patch for computers running older operating systems including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.

The massive ransomware attacks that started late Friday have locked people out of their computers and demanded hundreds of dollars from the users before they could regain control.

"Do not leave external storage used for backups connected to your computer to eliminate the risk of infecting your backups".

According to Singh, this was not the first time a ransomware has hit the systems globally, where the elite class of hackers have used the tools of NSA of the U.S. government, which were leaked by WikiLeaks and other similar organisations. "Otherwise they're literally fighting the problems of the present with tools from the past". "It's a handy thing to have, but it's a risky thing to have".

"You can buy these things and launch them".

Related Articles

  • The internet is whipping out some Core-i9 tales

    The internet is whipping out some Core-i9 tales

    According to WCCF Tech , the Intel Skylake X Core i9-7920X processor is a juggernaut featuring a total of 12 cores and 24 threads. These new cores have far less L3 cache than any current Intel HEDT chip - Intel's 10-core 6950X, for example, has 25MB of L3.
    OH  officer accidentally overdoses after touching Fentanyl during drug response

    OH officer accidentally overdoses after touching Fentanyl during drug response

    Lane said that the accidental overdose could have been deadly. "We just don't have the resources to do it", he said. The drug threatens the safety of police and first responders. "I started talking weird", he said.

    Iannetta beaned, more bad blood as D-Backs top Pirates

    In defeating the Pirates 11-4 before 21,911 in Chase Field Friday night, their offensive dominance of the opposition continues. Iannetta was struck by a 93 miles per hour pitch from Pittsburgh reliever Johnny Barbato in the seventh inning Friday night.
  • Former Playboy playmate facing jail over naked Snapchat

    Former Playboy playmate facing jail over naked Snapchat

    Mathers' lawyers are now arguing that the law the social media post supposedly violated is unconstitutionally vague. The person in the photo was identified only by her age and it was not clear if she knew she was being photographed.

    China's Xi says Silk Road plan boosts finance, security ties

    "The worldwide community's warm response to the Belt and Road Forum for global cooperation also speaks volumes for that". Xi said the Belt and Road initiative is "a project of the century" that will benefit people across the world.

    Si Woo Kim becomes youngest winner of Players Championship

    Kim was also the fourth different leader at the of each round, proving once again this course tested every golfer's abilities. He never got flustered, and he never stepped outside the zone he seemed to exist in throughout the final 36 holes.
  • Watch SpaceX's Latest (and Really Important) Launch Live

    Watch SpaceX's Latest (and Really Important) Launch Live

    Last year, an explosion during fueling destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and its payload, grounding the fleet for months. SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida on Monday carrying a commercial communications satellite.
    Social Security Administration releases most popular baby names list

    Social Security Administration releases most popular baby names list

    Perhaps this can be attributed to Kehlani Parrish, a singer/songwriter who was nominated for a Grammy in 2016. "It was inevitable. For boys in 2016, that name was Kylo , which rose from 3,359 in 2015 to 901 previous year .

    Chelsea not complacent ahead of West Bromwich tie, says Gary Cahill

    However, it might not all be plain sailing at The Hawthorns - a ground where Chelsea have lost on three of their last five visits. Victory for Antonio Conte's charges in the West Midlands will see them lift the trophy with two fixtures left to play.
  • Moyes agrees with Shearer's criticisms

    Moyes agrees with Shearer's criticisms

    What we are privy to and what we are able to see is the physical output and all those things which we can always judge so we are disappointed.

    Wizards forward Oubre ejected for bowling over Olynyk

    Draymond Green spent a chunk of time on his podcast ridiculing Boston Celtic's Kelly Olynyk for his " dirty " antics on the court. He connected to the groin region of Oklahoma City Thunder big man Steven Adams a few times in last year's playoffs.
    IPL 2017: Lots of bowling talent in India, says Warner

    IPL 2017: Lots of bowling talent in India, says Warner

    Gujarat seemed to have been affected much by the injury of Andrew Tye, who is the no doubt best bowler of the IPL Season 10. In fact, quite a few of his mishits also crossed the boundary ropes as he hit five fours and four sixes.