Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Global ransomware attack used info stolen from NSA, says Microsoft

Ben Pena | 17 May, 2017, 20:54

The malware paralyzed computers in factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems, hitting 200,000 victims in more than 150 countries by Monday.

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.

Microsoft references the source of WannaCry ransomware's as vulnerability referred to as the NSA, featuring similar security holes to be revealed on WikiLeaks in the documents stolen from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Never in history has a ransomware brought more than half the world's computers to a standstill.

The attacks affected 150 countries and infected at least 200,000 computers worldwide, despite global cyber security firms warning last month that they were expected. The attack, which is still unfolding, is now a fight between whitehat hackers, companies like Microsoft and the criminals attempting to run the world's biggest extortion scheme. The virus took control of users' files and demanded $300 payments to restore access, the BBC report said.

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That meant there were suddenly more quips from Republicans on Capitol Hill about Trump than compliments. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.

Europol executive director Rob Wainwright said the situation could worsen on Monday when workers return to their offices after the weekend and log on.

Calling for a "Digital Geneva Convention", Microsoft's Smith said the widespread damage caused by the ransomware shows that governments need to treat cyber weapons the same way they treat conventional weapons.

It's widely believed that the National Security Agency is responsible for the security vulnerability that was exploited by the malware used in last week's attack, Reuters reports.

The attack spread to a large swath of different organizations around the world, including the French vehicle company Renault, the Russian cellphone operator MegaFon and USA -based FedEx. That prompted the company to issue another patch on Friday for older and unsupported operating systems such as Windows XP, allowing users to secure their systems without requiring an upgrade to the latest operating software.

Here's a look at how malware and ransomware work and what people can do if they fall victim to attacks. As I said, Microsoft sent out an update to their software after they discovered this flaw. We have already installed the necessary security patches as far as the key networks are concerned. With that, Microsoft releases a patch for the vulnerability in March.

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