Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Wannacry Hits 200000 In 150 Countries

"When we say that the health ministry was attacked, you should understand that it wasn't the main server, it was local computers. actually nothing serious or deadly happened yet", German Klimenko, a presidential adviser, said on Russian state television".

The governments of the world should treat the cyber attack as a "wake-up call", the president of Microsoft has said.

A massive global ransomware attack has struck hospitals, companies and government offices around the world, seizing control of affected computers until the victims pay a ransom.

"The NHS was not particularly targeted".

Chinese media reported Sunday that students at several universities were hit, blocking access to their thesis papers and dissertation presentations.

As terrifying as the unprecedented global "ransomware" attack was, cybersecurity experts said it was nothing compared to what might be coming - especially if companies and governments do not make major fixes.

The ransomware was created to repeatedly contact an unregistered domain listed in its code.

"There are other criminals who've launched this attack, and they are ultimately responsible for this", he said from his home in Oxford, England.

He said the malware strike had been shut off "temporarily", but added: "There is no reason why the attacker won't come back and decide to pull another one on us all".

The ransom demand from the attack is between $300 to $600, and the post noted that there is code to "delete files" in the ransomware. Copycat attacks could follow.

But Europol Director Rob Wainwright said he feared the attack was not over and that the number of attacks would continue to grow.

"If it is routine we are saying please leave it a day or two - if you are urgent we will prioritise but if not please give us a couple of days", she said.

The ransomware, which locked users' files and demanded payment to allow access, spread to 150 countries, including Spain, Russia, the U.S. and China. The exploit was leaked last month as part of a trove of NSA spy tools.

The "kill" function halted WanaCryptor's ability to copy itself rapidly to all terminals in an infected system - hastening its crippling effect on a large network - once it was in contact with a secret internet address, or URL, consisting of a lengthy alphanumeric string. Microsoft responded with a special security patch for older operating systems such as Windows XP.

The patches won't do any good for machines that have already been hit. Renault halted production at some factories to stop the virus from spreading, a spokesman said Saturday, while Nissan's United Kingdom vehicle plant in Sunderland, in northeast England, was affected without causing any major impact on business, an official said. The NHS has said hospitals have had to cancel some outpatient appointments because of the attack. "We've seen the rise of ransomware becoming the principal threat, I think, but this is something we haven't seen before - the global reach is unprecedented", Wainwright said.

Fedex said Friday it was "experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware" and was trying to fix the problems as quickly as possible.

The U.K.'s National Cyber Security Center, which includes the country's computer emergency response team, says that "NCSC are working with affected organizations and partners to investigate and coordinate the response in the U.K".

Capitalizing on spying tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, hackers staged a cyberassault with a self-spreading malware that has infected tens of thousands of computers in dozens of countries.

Always update systems and software with the latest security updates.

The US Department of Homeland Security said that it was ready to lend technical support to contain the spread of the malware.

According to Matthew Hickey, founder of the security firm Hacker House, the attack is not surprising, and it shows many organizations do not apply updates in a timely fashion.

He said Russian Federation and India were hit particularly hard, largely because Microsoft's Windows XP - one of the operating systems most at risk - was still widely used there.

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