WannaCry Ransomware: What We Know Monday

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WannaCry Ransomware: What We Know Monday

A ransomware attack called WannaCry that was first launched on 12 May and since spread around the world impacted a number of high-profile organisations globally, including NHS England in the UK.

But that was before China announced that it too had been facing the same attack with 40,000 public and private organizations having been hit. The virus took control of users' files and demanded $300 payments to restore access, the BBC report said.

Countries around the world braced Monday for the spread of a massive ransomware cyberattack crippling thousands of computers at banks, hospitals and government institutions.

Outdated servers, Unpatched OS to blame!

WannaCry should not have reached disastrous proportions - Microsoft released a patch that could close the vulnerability in March, well before the NSA's tool was decrypted. Security patches would be available for clients with older machines, but only if they paid for custom support agreements.

Investigators are continuing efforts to identify the culprits behind the attack with Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab observing similarities between code used in the ransomware software with hackers linked to North Korea. "For other customers, we encourage them to install the update as soon as possible", said Phillip Misner, Principal Security Group Manager, Microsoft Security Response Centre, in a statement.

Variants of the ransomware are appearing online, according to reporting by Bleeping Computer, including at least five different WannaCrypt knockoffs in various forms of development.

When it comes to current software, effective carrots and sticks are needed to persuade companies, governments and individuals to do what everyone knows needs to be done: Patch their computers when a flaw is discovered.

If a more recent version of Windows is running on the computer and it stays up-to-date, it should not be vulnerable to the current attack or WannaCry.

It's the name for a prolific hacking attack known as "ransomware", that holds your computer hostage until you pay a ransom. Microsoft wants a "Digital Geneva Convention" he explains, "something that would commit governments to do less hoarding of exploits and vulnerabilities, do more to work with software vendors so that we can all keep systems secure".

"The fact that so many computers remained vulnerable two months after the release of a patch illustrates this aspect".

A young cyber security researcher had accidentally found the kill switch of the ransomware by sheer luck and purchased an unregistered domain name for $10.69 in order to stop the attack.

The self-taught expert who has emerged as the accidental hero of the global cyber attack is understood to have stopped the incident escalating from a small bedroom in his parents' house.

Those affected by the ransomware include major consumer brands and government agencies around the world.

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