WRAPUP 7-More disruptions feared from cyber attack; Microsoft slams gov't secrecy

Hackers who infected 200000 machines have only made $50000 worth of bitcoin

Government agencies and universities were among those hit as well as petrol stations, ATMs and hospitals, said the firm, one of China's leading software security providers.

"Since the global coordinated ransomware attack on thousands of private and public sector organisations across dozens of countries on Friday, there have been no sustained new attacks of that kind", the NCSC said.

Since it emerged last Friday (12 May) and ripped through Russian Federation, south-east Asia and most of Europe, major bodies such as the NHS, Renault, Telefónica and MegaFon have been battling to stay up and running. But hospitals in the United Kingdom, and global firms like Fedex also reported they had come under assault.

Security experts said the spread of the ransomware had been stopped late Friday.

Using antivirus software will at least protect you from the most basic, well-known viruses by scanning your system against the known fingerprints of these pests.

Europol said Saturday that the attack was of an "unprecedented level and requires worldwide investigation".

The government held an emergency meeting Saturday of its crisis response committee, known as COBRA, to assess the damage. Experts say it will be hard for them to replicate the conditions that allowed the so-called WannaCry ransomware to proliferate across the globe.

Ransomware is a type of wicked and malicious software that takes over the system of a computer.

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

Writing on the company's website, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer Brad Smith gave a post-mortem of last Friday's "WannaCrypt" cyber-attack, which spread across the world thanks to a database of exploits stolen from the US' National Security Agency (NSA).

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Computers and networks that hadn't recently updated their systems are still at risk because the ransomware is lurking. The ransomware exploits older versions of Microsoft's operating system software, such as Windows XP.

But the patches won't do any good for machines that have already been hit.

"Looking at the trends, it was going to happen", he said. In the first few hours, 200,000 machines were infected. Incidentally, this is the same researcher who managed to stop the ransomware attack from spreading by accidentally discovering a "kill switch" within the malware's code. As makers of anti-virus software release updates to block it, hackers deploy new variants to evade detection.

And WannaCry has already caused massive disruption around the globe.

The effects were felt across the globe, with Britain's National Health Service, Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica, FedEx Corp.in the USA and French carmaker Renault all reporting disruptions.

In India, there were reports of some systems of Andhra Pradesh police being affected on Saturday, although CERT-In has said that the PCs were isolated and not on a network. "Most of the reported cases of payment of ransom are from overseas". "We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits", Smith said.

He also suggested to update the systems as soon as possible in twitter. "Talk about a wake-up call", Hypponen said.

Russia's Interior Ministry released a statement Friday acknowledging a ransomware attack on its computers, adding that less than 1% of computers were affected, and that the virus was now "localized" and being destroyed. "The problem is the larger organizations are still running on old, no longer supported operating systems", said Lawrence Abrams, a New York-based blogger who runs BleepingComputer.com. In the meantime, experts are recommending that organizations harden against this threat and ensure that all systems are fully patched with the "MS17-010" security update.

When CNNTech first reported the Microsoft vulnerabilities leaked in April, Hickey said they were the "most damaging" he'd seen in several years, and warned that businesses would be most at risk.

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