Medicine

Ransomware cyber-attack a wake-up call

Ransomware cyber-attack a wake-up call”

According to University of Melbourne cyber security expert Dr Suelette Dreyfus, the attack would have been nowhere near as prolific had people run the updates provided by Microsoft in March.

The number of ransomware-affected cases is still rising.

The result paralyzed the computers of massive organizations across the globe and demanded an unlocking ransom of $300 in bitcoins. According to Rob Wainwright, the head of Europol, Europe's policing agency: "The numbers are still going up". Unfortunately, the patch won't help computers that are already infected.

The extortion attack, also called ransomware, used "WannaCry" malware that encrypts users' files until users pay a ransom. A 22-year old security researcher in the United Kingdom discovered a "kill-switch" to initially stop the spread of the attack. The company mainly ended support for the aging operating system in 2014.

"Although we have never seen anything on this scale when it comes to ransomware attacks, they are relatively common and there are things that you can do, that everyone can do, all of us can do, to protect ourselves against them", he said. "An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Smith wrote.

Mr Smith repeated his company's call for a "Digital Geneva Convention", suggesting it should include a new requirement "for governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them". The cyber-attack, he insisted, was not because of "NHS manager incompetence".

The Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue as part of a trove of hacking tools that they said belonged to the U.S. spy agency.

Microsoft itself has issued an update of their software to plug the holes but there are lots of computers out there that are not updated for one reason or the other. "We are in the second wave", said Matthieu Suiche of Comae Technologies.

He said if a new variant without a "kill switch" popped up, organisations would be on their own to prevent it from taking over their computers.

"They were in for more than 10 hours on Sunday working to get our computers up-and-running". Latest estimated has suggested that up to 75,000 people in 100 countries are affected by this huge NHS cyber attack.

Other surgeries have also posted statements confirming they have been affected on their websites.

Australian authorities have been monitoring the situation in New Zealand, which has an earlier time zone, to determine whether more businesses will be compromised.



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