New cyber chaos appears to have been avoided: Europol
May 16 2017 by Lorena Waters
Desperate attempts to contain the world's biggest cyberattack appear to be working early Monday.
Europol said European companies and governments had heeded warnings and as a result avoided further fallout from the ransomware.
In China, "hundreds of thousands" of computers at almost 30,000 institutions could have been hit, according to a report by Qihoo 360, an internet security firm.
While companies in the Americas were not yet open for business, aftershocks from the "Wannacry" virus elsewhere have so far been mild.
Cary Hendricks, global operations director at Glasgow-based ID Cyber Solutions, says users should not keep any unsupported operating systems.
"It seems that a lot of internet security guys over the weekend did their homework and ran the security software updates". The WannaCry ransomware has knocked down the computer systems globally locking up critical data and demanding bitcoins as ransom in lieu of release of the data.
The cyber attacks started on Friday and spread rapidly around the globe using a security flaw in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, an older version that is no longer given mainstream tech support by the USA giant.
Lastly, when affected already, users must not wait and see.
"We will get a decryption tool eventually, but for the moment, it's still a live threat and we're still in disaster recovery mode".
Experts were scrambling to determine who was behind the attack, which exploited a security flaw in older versions of Microsoft's Windows operating software. Whilst accepting Microsoft's share of the blame, Smith suggested that the bulk of the responsibility for the massive cyberhack lies at the feet of government agencies. "It's a wake-up call for both the country and the economy", he added.
Victims have paid about $50 000 in ransom so far, with the total expected to rise, said Tom Robinson, chief operating officer and co-founder of Elliptic Enterprises, a ransomware consultant that works with banks and companies in the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Europe.
At least one strain of the ransomware has proven especially vicious. Limited accounts, however, are barred from altering a computer's software installations, and in most cases, malware that infected limited accounts will be similarly crippled. Symantec found 64% of Americans are willing to pay a ransom, compared to 34% globally. You can WhatsApp us on +1 347-322-0415. For many, the phrase "cyber security attack" invokes an image of hackers performing a hostile takeover of a yacht's navigation system.
A total of 11 NHS trusts are still reporting problems following the attack on Friday, with thousands of computers out of action.
"More than 40,000 businesses and institutions in China have been struck by the malware, according to state media", Schmitz says.
Numerous UK hospitals, in particular in England and Scotland, have experienced problems with their computers over the weekend due to the cyberattack.
The source of the malware is a somewhat contentious issue.
"Once connected, an attacker can try to guess passwords for users on the system, or look for backdoors giving them access", HHS said in an emailed statement. The company said the virus has been localized and "technical work is underway to destroy it and update the antivirus protection".
The Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center, a non-profit group, said 2,000 computers at 600 locations in Japan were affected. A spokesman for May said the annual information technology budget in the NHS was 4.2 billion pounds and that an extra 50 million pounds had been allocated for updating cyber security.
Ransomware has a habit of mutating and so it changes over time in order to find different ways to access computers or to get around patches (operating system updates that often include security updates). Routine surgeries and appointments with general practitioners were cancelled.
Following a meeting of the Government's Cobra contingencies committee, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said more than a million patients had been treated in the course of Monday.