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Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Technology | By Kate Woods

Cyberattack is 'wake-up call' for governments

Cyberattack is 'wake-up call' for governments

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith likened the crippling "WannaCry" cyber assault on at least 200,000 PCs in more than 150 countries - a result of software exploits pilfered from the National Security Agency in April - to a raid on the Pentagon's missile arsenal. "There is always more we can all do to make sure we are secure against viruses but I think there has already been good preparations in place by the NHS to make sure they were ready for this sort of attack". Russian Federation was the country worst affected, with computers at the nation's interior ministry getting targeted.

In addition, as noted by McAfee researchers, the malware generates random IP addresses which are not limited to local networks, and with this, WannaCry may also be able to spread through the web if sites allow NetBIOS packets from outside networks.

The number of ransomware-affected cases is still rising.

Meanwhile, defence secretary Michael Fallon has insisted that the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent is safe from potential hacking attempts.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust says it has had to cancel "routine activity" today at Grantham, Boston and Lincoln Hospitals.

In a statement on Sunday, Microsoft warned that the ransomware attack must be a "wake up call" to governments to update their systems.

Further NCSC guidance for enterprises can be found here, while guidelines for home users and SMEs is available here.

Computers at walk-in centres, hospitals, and at GP surgeries have been taken offline, along with some telephone services.

Computer systems were shut down across the area on Friday after the NHS fell victim to a "ransomware" attack.

Microsoft, on its part, has rolled out patches for even unsupported versions of Windows such as Vista and XP.

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They warned it was still too early for all organisations to know if they had been infected, with the possibility of follow-up and copycat attacks. The security flaw that hackers used to launch the attacks on Friday was made public after information was stolen from the NSA, which routinely searches for flaws in software and builds tools to exploit them, the report said.

Regularly check the contents of backup files of databases for any unauthorized encrypted contents of data records or external elements, (backdoors /malicious scripts.) Keep the operating system third party applications (MS office, browsers, browser Plugins) up-to-date with the latest patches.

USA package delivery giant FedEx, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica and Germany's Deutsche Bahn rail network were among those hit in the attacks, which demanded money to allow users to unblock their computers.

India was said to be among the countries worst affected in the attack with data from anti-virus provider Kaspersky showing five per cent of all affected systems were in India.

The non-profit U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit research institute estimated that total losses would range in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but not exceed $1-billion.

Renault halted production at some factories to stop the virus from spreading, a spokesman said Saturday, while Nissan's auto plant in Sunderland, in northeast England, was affected without causing any major impact on business, an official said.

In Britain, the government denied allegations that lax cybersecurity in the financially stretched, state-funded health service had helped the attack spread.

He said the same thing could be done to crucial infrastructure, like nuclear power plants, dams or railway systems.

Broadcaster NTV said 600 companies and 2,000 computers in Japan had been affected.

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