Microsoft re-releases security update after cyberattacks

Laverne Mann
May 22, 2017

Firstly, you're only likely to be affected if you use a Windows operating system.

The WannaCry malware exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was reportedly developed and used by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Another major cyber-attack is imminent after Friday's global ransomware attack that infected more than 125,000 computer systems and could come on Monday, a security researcher warned today.

'Unlike most other attacks, this malware is spreading primarily by direct infection from machine to machine on local networks, rather than purely by email, ' said Lance Cottrell, chief scientist at the USA technology group Ntrepid.

The WannaCry ransomware, which locks computer systems and demands $300 (£230) in Bitcoin, hit over 200,000 computers on Friday and the impact continued to be felt across the weekend. The only thing is that not numerous users always keep their versions up to date because you know how annoying the Windows updates are.

"That's what makes this more troubling than ransomware was a week ago", Thakur said.

Krishna Chinthapalli, a doctor at Britain's National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery who wrote a paper on cybersecurity for the British Medical Journal, said many British hospitals still use Windows XP software, introduced in 2001.

For a clear picture, WannaCry is a form of ransomware that locks up files on your computer and encrypts them in a way that you can not access them.

Security officials in Britain urged organizations to protect themselves by updating their security software fixes, running anti-virus software and backing up data elsewhere.

"The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits", said Europol, Europe's policing agency.

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"It gives you a little piece of the virus so that when your machine gets infected, the virus sees you already have an infection and quits".

An unprecedented "ransomware" cyberattack that has already hit tens of thousands of victims in 150 countries could wreak even more havoc Monday as people return to their desks and power up their computers at the start of the work week.

The spread of the first wave of WannaCry ransomware may have been halted by a cybersecurity researcher who, by registering a domain with a particular name, effectively activated a "kill switch" in the malware software that stops it from spreading further.

The spread of the current attack was stopped by an anonymous United Kingdom cybersecurity researcher, who discovered that by registering an unusual domain name that had been written into the ransomware he could get the virus to shut itself down.

"On May 12, a massive ransomware attack hit organizations around the world".

It is believed to be the biggest online extortion ever, hitting British hospitals, German rail and companies and government agencies.

Businesses and large organizations are mostly at risk of this attack because of a flaw in a Windows protocol that many businesses use to share files. IT professionals in the health service tell me that while many hospitals may have a few computers - or perhaps some key medical equipment - dependent on XP those devices would not usually be connected to the internet.

Telecommunications company Telefonica was among the targets in Spain.

"Those who have Windows Update enabled are protected against attacks on this vulnerability", the company said in the post published on its website.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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