Cyberattacks in 12 nations said to use leaked NSA hacking tool

Cyberattacks in 12 nations said to use leaked NSA hacking tool

The "ransomware" cyberattack that has hit as many as 200,000 victims in over 150 countries should be treated by governments around the world as a "wake- up call", IT giant Microsoft has said.

"Organizations need to update their software", Kristy Campbell, chief spokeswoman for the cybersecurity firm Proofpoint Inc., told NBC News on Sunday.

Microsoft's lawyer says governments should "report vulnerabilities" that they discover to software companies, "rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them".

The National Cyber Security Centre, part of the GCHQ electronic intelligence agency, said it was working with police and the health system to investigate the attack.

"The numbers are still going up", he said. "We've seen that the slowdown of the infection rate over Friday night, after a temporary fix around it, has now been overcome by a second variation the criminals have released".

A massive cyberattack brought computers to a halt on Friday and Saturday, the malware affecting over one lakh computers and systems in almost 150 nations worldwide, ranging from the UK National Health Service to a French carmaker with an alliance plant in Chennai, the German railways, the Andhra Pradesh police and entire Russian systems.

Ransomware-the word which shakes your mind is a malicious software that locks your device; be it smartphones, tablets or computers.

CERT-In further said that it sent out advisory to the Reserve Bank of India on the matter, on Saturday itself.

"I still expect another to pop up and be fully operational", Kalember said.

Most of the affected hospitals were in England, but several facilities in Scotland also reported being hit.

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It was too early to say who was behind the onslaught, which struck 100,000 organizations, and what their motivation was, aside from the obvious demand for money. So far, he said, not many people have paid the ransom demanded by the malware.

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) was among the hardest hit and it has been reported that the IT systems of about 40 NHS organizations have been affected by this ransomware attack.

A cybersecurity expert calling himself MalwareTech later slowed down WannaCry by registering a domain name that he uncovered hidden in the ransomware's code.

Senior U.S. security officials held another meeting in the White House Situation Room on Saturday, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency were working to help mitigate damage and identify the perpetrators of the massive cyber attack, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. It's not uncommon for them to use aliases, either to protect themselves from retaliatory attacks or for privacy.

Russia's interior ministry said some of its computers had been hit, while the country's banking system was also attacked, although no problems were detected, as was the railway system.

He added that the Cyber Swachhta Kendra - government's portal on information about cyber security - is being updated on regular basis since Saturday. "It should just be a case of making sure installing updates is enabled, installing the updates, and reboot".

Code for exploiting that bug, which is known as "Eternal Blue", was released on the internet last month by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers. Jan Op Gen Oorth, spokesman for the Netherlands-based Europol, said the number of individuals who have fallen victim to the cyberextortion attack could be much higher.

The attacks exploited the computers because they were running outdated versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system.

That said, Microsoft can't shirk the blame entirely - it needs to reconsider its responsibility for users that work on older systems, particularly those across large networks that might avoid the sheer cost and scale of regular updating. "So they no longer get the security updates they should be". Hackers said they stole the tools from the NSA and dumped them on the internet. "It's a handy thing to have, but it's a unsafe thing to have". And if you really wish to use them, set the browser to ask you if you want to activate these plug-ins. "And that's what's happening right now".

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