At least 74 countries affected in 'biggest ever' cyberattack

Sunday, 14 May, 2017

The United Kingdom's famed National Health Service (NHS) has been hit hard, with hackers locking out 39 NHS organization from their patient data in exchange for ransom payments of £230 each, nearly $300, in bitcoin.

The ransomware, called Wana Decryptor or WannaCry, has been found infecting machines across the globe, with governments in both Australia and New Zealand on high alert.

Cyber security experts rushed to restore systems on Saturday after an unprecedented global wave of cyberattacks that struck targets ranging from Russia's banks to British hospitals and a French carmaker's factories.

"The software has actually stopped spreading across the world", he told CNN.

A young cybersecurity researcher has been credited with helping to halt the ransomware's spread by accidentally activating a so-called "kill switch" in the malicious software. The ransomware was created to repeatedly contact an unregistered domain in its code.

The researcher, tweeting as @MalwareTechBlog, said registering a domain name used by the malware stops it from spreading, though it can not help computers already affected. "We haven't seen anything like this since Conficker in 2008", Amit Nath, Head of Asia Pacific-Corporate Business at cyber security firm F-Secure Corporation, told IANS.

However, a hacker could change the code to remove the domain and try the ransomware attack again.

Furthermore, the NITDA DG said should any system be infected by the ransomware, it should be isolated from other network to prevent the threat from further sspreading. Turn on auto-updaters where available (Microsoft offers that option).

"Today, it happened to 10,000 computers", Eisen said.

It was not yet known who perpetrated Friday's attacks.

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

The attack, reportedly based on an exploit discovered by the National Security Agency, encrypts files on the infected computers and then demands payments of around $300 in bitcoins.

The ransomware, known as WannaCry, was leaked by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which has been dumping stolen N.S.A. hacking tools online since a year ago.

Computers in a dozen Brazilian court systems are affected as well, along with the prosecutors in Sao Paolo.

Initial ransom demands were for U.S. $300 in BitCoins, payable through a link on the announcement screen, though more recent infections seem to have increased the ransom demand to United States $600 with the promise that the amount will continue to increase.

Also badly hit was Britain's National Health Service, which declared a "major incident" after the attack, which forced some hospitals to divert ambulances and scrap operations.

There is no evidence patient data has been compromised, NHS Digital has said.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise around the world.

His procedure is being rescheduled within the next two weeks.

Interior minister Amber Rudd chaired a meeting of Britain's national emergencies committee.

He said Russian Federation and India were hit particularly hard, largey because tech giant Microsoft's older Windows XP operating software was still widely used there.

The ransomware, aptly named WannaCry, did not spread because of people clicking on bad links.

Enable Windows Defender Antivirus to detect this ransomware. "They can't do it now, because of all this", he said.

Currently, the laboratory experts analyze samples of malicious software for the establishment of the ability to decrypt data, said a company representative.

Mike Geraghty, chief information security officer (CISO) of New Jersey and director of the state's Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NJCCIC), said officials are still sorting through the details and reports surrounding the attack, and have yet to identify any exposures within their jurisdiction.

No one has yet identified the culprit.

Kaspersky Lab said its team has confirmed additional infections in additional countries, including Ukraine and India. Bitcoin is set up to be untraceable, so investigators will struggle to follow a money trail, he said. Universities in #Greece and #Italy also were hit.