Governments to blame for cyberattack

Governments to blame for cyberattack

"Governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call".

The warning was echoed by Britain's National Cyber Security Centre: "As a new working week begins it is likely, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, that further cases of ransomware may come to light, possibly at a significant scale". "This is an emerging pattern in 2017", chief counsel Brad Smith wrote in a blog post.

Following the theft of the exploit, Microsoft released a security update to patch the vulnerability, however many computers remained unpatched and were hit as a result. "This is one reason we called in February for a new "Digital Geneva Convention" to govern these issues, including a new requirement for governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them".

In the event that a computer is infected with malware, experts say that users should not pay the ransom as there is no guarantee that the files will be returned and whether the perpetrators will refrain from attacking the user again. It has been suspected for some time now that the malware came from a cache of hacking tools reportedly stolen by hacking group Shadow Brokers from the NSA and leaked on the internet.

But as Asia woke up to the working week on Monday, leading Chinese security-software provider Qihoo 360 said "hundreds of thousands" of computers in the country were hit at almost 30,000 institutions including government agencies.

The cyberattack, which began in London on Friday morning, has so far affected 150 countries and locked more than 200,000 computers.

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A Motherboard story suggested that the NHS may have been hit because it continues to run the unsupported Windows XP operating system across thousands of machines.

A Microsoft spokesman reached Sunday said the company had no comment. The spread of the virus slowed over the weekend but the respite might only be brief, experts have warned.

Smith compared the NSA losing track of its cyber weapon to the US military having Tomahawk cruise missiles stolen.

"Given the potential impact to customers and their businesses, we made the decision to make the Security Update for platforms in custom support", Misner said in explaining Microsoft's motivation. So even people with older computers should go update them.

"As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems", Mr. Smith said.

The malware exploits a security flaw in Windows XP, and once it infects a computer, it encrypts the files and spreads to others computers. (MSFT) issued a security patch in March that resolved the problem for machines running Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016.

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