Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Three Australian businesses hit by WannaCry malware attack

Ben Pena | 15 May, 2017, 22:09

"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. This tool works on all versions of Windows and should be run after each restart, they advised, adding that it can be automated by modifying with Windows registry.

But U.K. hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms like Fedex also reported they had come under assault.

European police agency Europol said it was working to support countries, saying the malware attack was at an "unprecedented level and requires global investigation".

"When any technique is shown to be effective, there are nearly always copycats", said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer of McAfee, a security company in Santa Clara, California.

The most public damage in South Korea was to cinema chain CJ CGV Co.

Huss told The Associated Press on Saturday he's thankful it wasn't someone "with malicious intent" who discovered how to stop the attack.

Microsoft has called the cyber-attack that crippled businesses and services across 150 countries a "wake-up call", and has blamed government agencies for storing details of software vulnerabilities like stockpiled weapons. Two big telecom companies, Telefónica of Spain and Megafon of Russian Federation, were also hit, as was Japanese carmaker Nissan in the United Kingdom.

The attack appeared to exploit a vulnerability that was purportedly identified by the U.S. Na-tional Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes and was later leaked to the internet.

And experts say the scope of the problem could expand as people return to work and fire up their computers.

"You are dealing with a criminal", he said. In 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California said it had paid a $17,000 ransom to regain control of its computers from hackers. "It's very likely that someone will reverse engineer this ransomware worm to generate an updated version, which you can guarantee will not contain a "kill switch".

Microsoft partly blames U.S. gov't for cyberattack
According to Xinhua, by Saturday night, 29,372 institutions had been infected along with hundreds of thousands of devices. A large-scale worldwide investigation has been launched as police attempt to identify the perpetrators of the attack.

The malware, which has been called multiple names including WannaCry, Wanna Decryptor or WannaCrypt, creates a pop-up window informing users that their files are encrypted and are no longer accessible - without a payment.

"We haven't fully dodged this bullet at all until we're patched against the vulnerability itself", Kalember said.

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

Microsoft released patches last month and on Friday to fix a vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across networks, a rare and powerful feature that caused infections to surge on Friday.

"That's what makes this more troubling than ransomware was a week ago", Thakur said.

The virus has hit at least 150 countries and claimed 200,000 victims, according to the European Union's law enforcement agency Europol. The numbers are going up.

But he also blamed the governments.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's cyber security adviser, Alastair MacGibbon, said on Sunday there had been one confirmed incident in Australia, but warned it was likely more computer systems would eventually be hit.

The ransomware encrypts data on the computer using an encryption key that only the attacker knows.


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