Ransomware hits 'hundreds of thousands' of China PCs: Firm

Posted May 18, 2017

Ryan Kalember, senior vice president at Proofpoint Inc., said the version with no kill switch was able to spread but it contained a flaw that wouldn't allow it to take over a computer and demand ransom to unlock files.

Cyber-attacks that have hit 150 countries since Friday should be treated by governments around the world as a "wake-up call", Microsoft says.

"We've never seen anything like this", the head of the European Union's policing agency told Britain's ITV television Sunday, calling its reach "unprecedented". It's possible an NSA contractor may have been careless in leaving the hacking tool on an unsecured computer from which it was stolen by a hacking collective, that may have auctioned it on the dark net, although it came as a crumb of comfort that a domain name costing less than Rs 800 to create may have found the antidote to stop this virulent attack, the worst in the new millennium since the Love Bug virus.

The security firm Kaspersky Lab, based in Russian Federation, noted that Microsoft had repaired the software problem that allows backdoor entry into its operating systems weeks before hackers published the exploit linked to the NSA, but also said: "Unfortunately it appears that many users have not yet installed the patch".

But the agency added that some infections may not yet have been detected, and that existing infections can spread within networks.

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"And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cyber security threats in the world today - nation-state action and organised criminal action".

Unfortunately, no. This is merely one "strain" of the virus that has been stopped from spreading over networks.

A Jakarta hospital said on Sunday that the cyber attack had infected 400 computers, disrupting the registration of patients and finding records.

Spanish firm Telefonica, French automaker Renault, the USA -based delivery service FedEx and the German railway Deutsche Bahn were among those affected. "We don't know when the problem can be solved", said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity. For more detailed information about the Windows vulnerability and how to resolve it, see Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 - Critical.

"The numbers are still going up", Wainwright said.

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The hacking tool was leaked by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which has been dumping stolen NSA hacking tools online beginning previous year.

The National Security Agency (NSA) alerted Microsoft about the issue three months ago and Microsoft released an upgrade that patched the flaw, but many users were yet to run it, CNN reported.

The attacks exploited the computers because they were running outdated versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system.

The patches won't do any good for machines that have already been hit. "Unfortunately, most people don't have them", Abrams says. It's not uncommon for them to use aliases, either to protect themselves from retaliatory attacks or for privacy. Wainwright said Europol did not know the motive. Victims of the attack range in size-from Fortune 500 to small/medium-sized businesses-and industry-from academic institutions to large banks, health care providers, and transportation networks. British cybersecurity expert Graham Cluley doesn't want to blame the NSA for the attack.

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) was among the hardest hit and it has been reported that the IT systems of about 40 NHS organizations have been affected by this ransomware attack.

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He also suggested to update the systems as soon as possible in twitter. Anti-virus signatures for known ransomware variants, including WannaCry, may need to be updated as well. Fedex said Friday it was "experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware". The effects were felt across the globe, with Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica, FedEx Corp.in the US and French carmaker Renault all reporting disruptions.