November 19 2017

A 'second wave' of ransomware could broaden global cyberattack

November 19 2017, 01:05 | Irvin Gilbert

Officials across the globe scrambled over the weekend to catch the culprits behind a massive ransomware worm that disrupted operations at auto factories, hospitals, shops and schools, while Microsoft on Sunday pinned blame on the USA government for not disclosing more software vulnerabilities.

More than 200,000 victims in around 150 countries have been infected by the ransomware which originated in the United Kingdom and Spain on Friday before spreading globally.

But he also placed fault in the governments.

Australia's top cybersecurity adviser has warned "this is not game over" after more than 200 000 people across 150 countries were victims one of the biggest "ransomware" attacks in history.

The attack impacted on acute hospital sites in Lanarkshire, as well as GP surgeries, dental practices and other primary care centres around the country.

There are several factors in play.

Experts think that a new versions of the virus have to be expected, and the size and the economy value from the Friday's attack are still not clear.

The ransomware attack that began on Friday may have been slowed for the moment, but there are indications that another similar attack could occur as soon as Monday morning, according to Europol Director Rob Wainwright.

However, Wainwright said so far "remarkably few" payments had been made by the victims of the attack.

At least one strain of the ransomware has proven especially vicious. This means that all the data on the compromised computer system is effectively locked and the user is left with only two files- one with instructions on what to do next and the Wanna Decryptor program itself.

In the world of ransomware, that was "unheard of six months ago", Levy said. A company needs to have sophisticated security systems in place to be able to spot the attack and isolate important documents, to minimize the damage from the attack.

Officials say they're aware of those problems.

A statement from Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith on Sunday criticised the way governments store up information about security flaws in computer systems.

Grafi said his firm has been contacted by companies that are scrambling to avoid potential pitfalls. Tehan told ABC on Monday the number of affected businesses in the country rose to three.

The apparent chink in the NHS's defences led to criticism of the Government, with the Liberal Democrats demanding an inquiry.Labour's shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, in a letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said concerns were repeatedly flagged about outdated computer systems.

Symantec said the majority of organisations affected were in Europe.

"It seems that a lot of internet security guys over the weekend did their homework and ran the security software updates".

"People received emails in an unsuspecting manner (and) clicked on a link or opened an attachment that started the whole chain of events", Thakur said. It said it believed the difficulties are linked to the global cyberattack but they haven't so far harmed its business operations.

The Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center, a nonprofit group providing support in computer attacks, said 2,000 computers at 600 locations in Japan were reported affected.

It follows Friday's ransomware attack on NHS computers which affected 13 health bodies in Scotland.

In the U.S., FedEx Corp. reported that its Windows computers were "experiencing interference" from malware, but wouldn't say if it had been hit by ransomware.

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