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Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Research | By Elias Hubbard

Log in, look out: Cyber chaos spreads with workweek's start

Log in, look out: Cyber chaos spreads with workweek's start

The malware, known as "WannaCry", locks access to user files and in an on-screen message demands payment of $300 in the virtual currency Bitcoin in order to decrypt the files. The software coupled with a worm allowed the malicious software to be replicated over networks across the globe.

WannaCry uses a vulnerability in the older version of Windows, which was originally detected by the NSA; however, the American security agency exploited it to hack devices rather than informing the company. Microsoft released patches over the weekend to protect Windows versions against the attacks. Because numerous computers impacted run older Windows systems like XP, Microsoft issued a rare patch for XP, which it had stopped updating more than three years ago. In the United Kingdom, hospitals and medical practices were infected resulting in the cancellation of medical appointments. Other countries and companies affected in a major way include FedEx, Russia's interior ministry, Japanese companies Hitachi and Nissan and Renault, the French automobile manufacture.

If you're not on a work network that already has security, consider installing some form of security program on your computer.

It's impossible to predict who will be impacted by such an attack and when, but there are certain steps you can take to protect your business.

As of now the attacker and the motive behind the attack are unknown.

Becky Pinkard, from Digital Shadows, a UK-based cyber-security firm, revealed it would be easy for the initial attackers or "copy-cat authors" to change the virus code so it is hard to guard against.

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World braces for more cyberattacks as work week begins
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A United Kingdom cyber-security researcher known as "MalwareTech", who was responsible for helping to limit the attacks, predicted that there would be "another one coming... quite likely on Monday".

How badly is India affected?

The attack, already believed to be the biggest online extortion scheme ever recorded, is an "escalating threat" after hitting 200,000 victims across the world since Friday, according to the head of Europol, Europe's policing agency. Also those who used any form of pirated software will find it quite hard to receive an insurance payout.

However, officials and security firms said the spread was starting to slow in the country, which has the world's largest number of internet users.

How to stop the attack from affecting your system?

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