Cyberattack is 'wake-up call' for governments

Posted May 18, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that his country, which has been accused of cyber meddling in several countries in recent years, had anything to do with the attack.

Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan have been the countries most affected by the attack.

"A protection system... needs to be worked out", he said.

"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Smith wrote. The game's website was working Sunday, but the game has been shut down until the owners can recover from the attack. But he said the country was safe from the major impacts of the attack, which was believed to be the same thing as the one that reached thousands of computer systems in the United Kingdom in an extortion plot.

Hackers have used "ransomware" to freeze at least 200,000 computers so far, and they have demanded that users pay up to regain access. The company said the virus has been localized and "technical work is underway to destroy it and update the antivirus protection".

It issued guidance for people to protect their systems, while taking the highly unusual step of reissuing security patches first made available in March for Windows XP and other older versions of its operating system.

USA package delivery giant FedEx, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica and Germany's Deutsche Bahn rail network were among those hit in the attacks, which demanded money to allow users to unblock their computers.

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To the broader issues that we are addressing in terms of advancing our national security interest, our national economic interest".

The NHS has said hospitals have had to cancel some outpatient appointments because of the attack.

A massive cyberattack brought computers to a halt on Friday and Saturday, the malware affecting over one lakh computers and systems in nearly 150 nations worldwide, ranging from the UK National Health Service to a French carmaker with an alliance plant in Chennai, the German railways, the Andhra Pradesh police and entire Russian systems.

"We've never seen anything like this", the head of the European Union's policing agency told Britain's ITV television, calling its reach "unprecedented".

"We could potentially see copycats mimic the delivery or exploit method they used", he said.

Payment is demanded within three days or the price is doubled, and if none is received within seven days the files will be deleted, according to the screen message.

Images appeared on victims' screens demanding payment of $300 (275 euros) in Bitcoin, saying: "Ooops, your files have been encrypted!"

Given the attack's widespread nature, even such a small sum would stack up quickly, though few victims seem to be paying up so far.

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Cyber extortionists tricked victims into opening malicious malware attachments to spam emails that appeared to contain invoices, job offers, security warnings and other legitimate files. Unfortunately, this tool, along with many others, was stolen by hackers and leaked to the world in April 2017 by a hacker group calling themselves the "Shadow Brokers".

The attack was one of the largest ransomware attacks in history.

The British government denied allegations that lax cybersecurity in the financially stretched, state-funded health service had helped the attack spread.

Anti-virus experts Symantec said the majority of organisations affected were in Europe.

Russia's interior ministry said some of its computers had been hit, while the country's banking system was also attacked, although no problems were detected, as was the railway system.

"It's one of those things, in a ideal world, if people were up to date on the patches, this wouldn't be a problem", O'Leary said.

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