Microsoft says cyberattack should be wake up call for governments

The WannaCry - or WannaCrypt/WanaCrypt - malware locked down computers worldwide while demanding hefty ransom demands for the release of the computers. And it's expected to cause more problems on Monday.

Microsoft have said that the cyber-attack which has impacted 150 countries must be treated as a "wake-up call" by governments around the world. The software can run in 27 different language, according to US cybersecurity officials.

At the moment, all PCs that do not have the latest Microsoft security updates are vulnerable to attack by the ransomware.

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world", he wrote.

Microsoft's now calling for a new requirement that would ask governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors instead of hoarding, selling or exploiting them.

"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Smith wrote.

"How did the malware manage to spread if Microsoft had already shipped a Windows update that fixed the vulnerability WannaCrypt was exploiting?" wrote Forbes contributor Lee Mathews.

Kaspersky said it was seeking to develop a decryption tool "as soon as possible". The attack led health care officials to divert ambulances and caused some patients to be turned away due to the severity of the disruption.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that takes over a computer and locks the user out, preventing them from accessing any files until they pay money.

Security blog MalwareTech has a map that records the spread of the ransomware.

On May 12th, 2017, the AlienVault Labs Security Research Team reported seeing a wave of infections related to a new ransomware variant known as "WannaCry". It attacks unpatched Microsoft Windows computers. In fact, some hospitals in the United Kingdom were forced to shut down in the wake of the attack. "Although there has been a significant amount of interest in the media and inescapable coverage of the outbreak, many systems will still be lacking the MS17-010 patch required to mitigate the threat".

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, part of Homeland Security, urged U.S. victims to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"While it would be satisfying to hold accountable those responsible for this hack - something that we are working on quite seriously - the worm is in the wild, so to speak, at this point, and patching is the most important message as a result", said Bossert. That might require a restart.

But millions of individuals and smaller businesses still had such systems. Critically, it recommends (as I do) that good backups are the one, true protection against cyber attacks. "If someone kidnaps your child, you may pay your ransom but there is no guarantee your child will return".

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