The WannaCry ransomware attack has spread to 150 countries

China criticises US actions for hindering global effort to fight cyber crime

China criticises US actions for hindering global effort to fight cyber crime

The ransomware virus is such lethal and smart that "it also drops a file named '!Please Read Me!.txt' which contains the text explaining what has happened (to the computer) and how to pay the ransom". That's why it's called ransomware.

The latest virus exploits a flaw in Microsoft Windows first identified by U.S. intelligence.

The WannaCry attackers didn't put in a lot of work to build the SMB-based infection component either, as they simply adapted an existing exploit leaked in April by a group called the Shadow Brokers.

Microsoft said it had released a Windows security update in March to tackle the problem involved in the latest attack, but many users were yet to run it.

Seeking to head off further criticism in the wake of the WannaCry outbreak, the USA software giant last weekend released a free patch for Windows XP and other older Windows versions that it previously only offered to paying customers.

Businesses, government agencies and other organizations were urged to quickly implement a patch released by Microsoft Corp. Playing with fire finally caught up with the victims.

Akshat Kumar Jain, cofounder of Cyware, also said the risk of infection was high in India given poor individual cyber hygiene. That cyberweapon works by exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows - vulnerabilities Microsoft was aware of.

So far, one of the worst cyberattacks in recent memory has hit computers in 150 countries, Europol said, with a virus named WannaCry encrypting files and demanding ransom from victims. In the UK's National Health Service, which was particularly badly hit, at least 47 organisations were affected.

This one cyberattack has caused ambulances to be rerouted, surgeries to be rescheduled, patients to be turned away from emergency rooms, manufacturers to halt production, airlines to cancel and reschedule flights, as well as a plethora of other problems involving everything from transportation to communications.

Germany's rail network Deutsche Bahn, Spanish telecommunications operator Telefonica, US logistics giant FedEx and Russia's interior ministry are a few of the significant organizations that have been targeted.

Ransomware that ripped through hundreds of thousands of Windows PCs worldwide on Friday was hobbled over the weekend, but could see a resurgence this week if patches are not deployed.

Smith also noted that Microsoft released a patch almost two months prior for the very vulnerability the WannaCrypt ransomware exploited, but a failure to install the patch left hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of computers around the world vulnerable. Many run single tasks, and are rarely updated, or even noticed, by IT staff. The blame for the cyberattack - a "ransomware" attack - rests on the NSA and Microsoft. Bad guys generally target Windows far more than Apple's operating system because there are vastly more computers running Windows around the world.

Microsoft did not confirm to AFP when it made the patch free. "Ideally, this data should be kept on a separate device, and backups should be stored offline", it said. Install all Windows updates. 5. (Intelligence officials wouldn't comment on the authenticity of the claims.) The tools appeared stolen by hackers, who dumped them on the internet.

During the weekend, spread of the malware slowed for a variety of reasons (including this heroic effect by a security researcher). Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) in 2013 on whether someone could hack into a Russian or Chinese system and launch a nuclear missile, he was forced to give a vague answer.

Last Friday's outbreak of the WannaCry ransomware infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, including thousands at United Kingdom hospitals.

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