cyberattack that hit nearly 100 countries
Experts warn firms to update security software, as Microsoft partly blames US government for massive ransomware attack.
Government offices, banks and hospitals around the world are bracing themselves for a possible repeat of Friday’s global cyber attack, while tech giant Microsoft pinned blame on the US government for not disclosing more software vulnerabilities.
Cyber security experts said the spread of the worm dubbed WannaCry – “ransomware” that locked up more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries – had slowed but that the respite might only be brief amid fears it could cause new havoc on Monday when employees return to work.
New versions of the worm are expected, they said, and the extent – and economic cost – of the damage from Friday’s attack were unclear.
Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre joined others in warning of more cases of “ransomware” attacks this week, predicting that the problem could be “at a significant scale” because some infected machines have not yet been detected, and existing infections can spread within networks.
The malicious software system utilized in the attack, that has the power to automatically unfold across massive networks by exploiting a best-known bug in Microsoft’s Windows OS, was taken from the U.S. National Security Agency.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, criticised governments for “stockpiling” software system code that may be used by hackers.
In a post on Microsoft’s blog, Smith wrote: “An equivalent state of affairs with typical weapons would be the U.S. military having a number of its Tomahawk missiles taken.”
He added that governments should “report vulnerabilities” that they discover to software companies, “rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them”.
The NSA and White House didn’t now reply to requests for comment about the Microsoft statement, Reuters agency reported.
In the UK, the National Health Service has been forced to cancel operations nowadays among its hospitals when computers used to share patients’ test results and scans with doctors stay frozen.
Yesterday, minister Julie Bishop aforesaid authorities were operating to confirm if the reports were connected to the worldwide attack.
“The problem is, of course, there are actually hundreds of instances of ransomware in Australia every week, thus we’re presently seeking to confirm whether or not these are samples of the actual ransomware that has caused such a lot mayhem as an example within the uk,” she told reporters in Cairns.
Mr Tehan aforesaid Australian business boardrooms required to be aware of the impacts of ransomware.
“And we’ve have to be compelled to confirm at a division level, government level, division heads … that they’re taking the mandatory steps,” he told Sky News.
“They’re responsive to this. They became responsive to it once we had the incident with the Census, thus there aren’t any excuses. They bounce back resourced for their information technology.”