WannaCry Ransomware: Microsoft Calls Out NSA For 'Stockpiling' Vulnerabilities

U.S. authorities have said cyberattacks via ransomware are a growing problem, having previously hit entire computer networks at universities, businesses and hospitals.

The worldwide effort to extort cash from computer users is the first widely successful example of ransomware that self-replicates like a virus, and it prompted Microsoft to quickly change its policy, announcing free security patches to fix this vulnerability in the older Windows systems still used by millions of individuals and smaller businesses.

The 200,000 victims included more than 100,000 organizations, Europol spokesman Jan Op Gen Oorth told The Associated Press. Unfortunately, the patch won't help computers that are already infected.

Friday's ransomware outbreak, which used recently revealed weaknesses in Microsoft's Windows operating system to spread further and faster than any before, has prompted the Redmond-based developer to break its own rules on software maintenance in an effort to keep users safe.

Experts say the spread of the virus had been stymied by a security researcher in the United Kingdom hackers have issued new versions of the virus that cyber security organizations are actively trying to counter and stamp out. Security researchers have discovered variants of the Windows malware that either doesn't have a kill switch, or which ping to a different domain than the one discovered by the researcher. The ease of stopping the attack suggests the hackers were new to this game.

That said, a hacker could remove the domain and try the ransomware attack again, reports CNN. The NHS said in a statement on Saturday that there was no evidence that patient information had been compromised. Microsoft also recommends using antivirus software for Windows. State media reported that digital payment systems at PetroChina gas stations were offline, forcing customers to pay cash.

Ducks' reward for Game 7 win is date with Rinne and Preds
Drake Caggiula had a goal and Cam Talbot made 28 saves for the Oilers, who fell to 3-3 all-time when playing Game 7 on the road. The 21-year-old power forward wasn't around for any of the Anaheim Ducks' agonizing Game 7 defeats over the past four seasons.

Smith also called cyberattack protection a "shared responsibility" between companies and customers.

Officials across the globe scrambled over the weekend to catch the culprits behind a massive ransomware virus that disrupted operations at auto factories, hospitals, shops and schools, locking up more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries and demanding $300 (€274.21 ) in payments to restore access.

As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought the ransomware, the attack was disrupting computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in scores of countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Spain, India and Japan, among others. Businesses need to patch to be completely protected, but Hickey's solution works for organizations that might need more time to upgrade.

You must develop a habit of installing security update immediately.

Just in case, if you are not updated on what we are talking about - it is a recently launched ransomware which locks down all the files on your system. Here's how to turn automatic updates on.

The software tools to create the attack were revealed in April among a trove of NSA spy tools that were either leaked or stolen. Then it will scan the internet for vulnerable machines.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top HTC sets mid-June for its U11 India lift-off
May 16, 2017 - 13:42
Customers get slightly more generous storage options this year, as the HTC 10 only shipped in 32GB or 64GB variants. HTC has been alluding to this capability in a series of short videos on a teaser website for the past month.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kyle Lowry says he's 'doubtful' for Sunday
May 16, 2017 - 10:18
Lowry averaged 15.1 points in 38.7 minutes per game. "Next man mentality and we're all playing good together". With Lowry hobbled, DeRozan's offensive responsibility increases beyond the heavy load he already carries.

Warriors: Conference finals schedule vs. Spurs set
May 15, 2017 - 18:20
Without his physical presence, Aldridge went to work, scoring 10 points in the first quarter as the Spurs jumped to a 31-24 lead. Many expect Cleveland and Golden State to duke it out again this year, but Golden State first has to contend with San Antonio.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Overblown claim on new China trade deal
May 15, 2017 - 18:19
China is turning more to natural gas as a way to reduce its dependence on coal and combat the country's extensive air pollution. Ricketts on Friday applauded news that China would allow American beef into the country for the first time since 2003.

Activists say Kurdish-led forces advance on IS-held Raqqa
May 15, 2017 - 17:23
American military commanders insist that the weapons will be carefully monitored, and the YPG in any case, denies that it is linked to the PKK.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Carlos Martinez gets 2 hits, Cardinals beat Cubs 5-3
May 14, 2017 - 12:37
Could this promotion also serve as a trade infomercial? At the time, the Cubs were within just two runs of the Cardinals. He was one of four Cubs' first-round picks in Saturday's lineup, including Javy Baez (No. 9 in 2011), Albert Almora Jr.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Donald Trump dismisses Russian Federation collusion claims as a total hoax
May 14, 2017 - 12:36
Justice Department until Trump fired her on January 30 for declining to defend his travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. The Jan. 26 conversation took place two days after the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed Flynn about those contacts.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top #13-Cal Stops San Jose State, 4-0, In NCAA Women's Tennis
May 14, 2017 - 11:35
Obviously, it would have been nice to have not been so close there at the end, but on the other hand I thought we did quite well. This is the Shockers' ninth-straight trip to Division I postseason play. "Britt has been a rock for us", Corbett said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Spurs rout Rockets to win West semifinal series
May 13, 2017 - 04:00
Harden said the Rockets did not take the Spurs lightly even though San Antonio were without Leonard due to an ankle injury. Harden succinctly summed up the state of things postgame - "They just dominated", he said - but that only goes so far.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Happy Cinco de Mayo! Here are 5 facts about the day
May 13, 2017 - 03:57
But guess what? If you're not a total asshole who doesn't give a shit, you can avoid insulting an entire culture. Some even celebrate with Chihuahua races: One U.S. city celebrates Cinco de Mayo with a Chihuahua race.

Concussion spotter couldn't pull Crosby for hitting boards
May 12, 2017 - 11:36
Through the regular season and the playoffs combined, the Caps have scored only once at 4-on-4. "We know our recipe for success . Fleury has allowed nine goals on 58 shots the past two games after nine on 142 shots the first four games against the Capitals.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top History of Mother's Day: Anna Jarvis
May 12, 2017 - 11:07
Another mother cried for nearly an hour to plead that her daughter graduate with her batch, even if she had failed in a subject. Mary Lou Horlacher certainly wasn't flawless - no more than any other mother - but she often sacrificed greatly for my welfare.

Snap posts big 1Q loss, higher revenue, misses expectations
May 11, 2017 - 20:56
The biggest problem, though, was a staggering $2.2 billion in losses, up from just $104 million in the same quarter a year ago . Ever since Facebook started copying Snapchat's Stories feature into all of its app, Snap's growth has slowed.

Minus Crosby, Penguins edge Capitals 3-2 to take 3-1 lead
May 11, 2017 - 20:51
Let's discuss rather how the Penguins can still win this series and advance to their second straight Eastern Conference Final. And yet, with all the chips stacked in the Capitals favor, they were unable to deliver in a 3-2 Game 4 loss Wednesday night.

Trump calls for 'good shutdown' to fix mess in Senate
May 10, 2017 - 12:41
The funds would also not be included in calculating the starting point for future negotiations over defense spending. Democrats say House Republicans up for re-election next year will face a backlash from voters over the bill.