Microsoft Criticizes Government Creation of Hacking Tools

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Security blog MalwareTech has a map that records the spread of the ransomware.

Smith also noted that Microsoft released a patch almost two months prior for the very vulnerability the WannaCrypt ransomware exploited, but a failure to install the patch left hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of computers around the world vulnerable.

Who was behind the attack?

Matthew Hickey, cofounder of security firm My Hacker House, created a virtual inoculation for companies to use to prevent ransomware while they work on patching.

He said, "We take every single cyberattack on a Windows system seriously, and we've been working around the clock since Friday to help all our customers who have been affected by this incident".

As it happens, thousands of businesses may only have themselves to blame. As previously mentioned, this attack is particularly risky because it's also a worm, which means that once it gets into a computer it starts connecting to other systems to spread as much as possible. But there was no fix initially for Windows XP, an operating system which many customers continue to use notwithstanding its end-of-life status.

Sumon Ahmed Sabir, Chief Technology Officer of Fiber-at-Home, said that some personal computers too have been infected by ransomware.

On Monday, the White House promised a fight against the Ransomware attack on 300,000 computers in 150-countries. So another massive cyberattack is most likely coming. It locks down all the files on an infected computer. "We had issued advisory to all government office on Saturday". Yet, in February India's finance minister said that over 70% of ATMs were still running on XP.

The question remains: for all the benefits that software updates provide, why the apathy? "This most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today - nation-state action and organized criminal action". "It takes time to upgrade all systems in an organization and train end users on the new features and functionality". On the plus side this outbreak does have people patching, so we have that going for us.

Those barriers can translate into real losses.

The malware locked computers and blocked access to patient files in England's public hospitals. But unlike NHS trusts and hospitals in England and Scotland which suffered significantly at the hands of the ransomware attack late last week, NHS Wales wasn't affected by the ransomware attack at all, a feat largely attributed to the fact the health system recently updated its entire network.

"Like many other companies, FedEx is experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware", the spokesperson said in a statement.

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