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6 updates on the worldwide ransomware attack

6 updates on the worldwide ransomware attack

Microsoft Corp President Brad Smith sharply criticized the United States government on Sunday for "stockpiling" software flaws that it often can not protect, citing recent leaks of both NSA and Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools.

The virus that hit the NHS in England and Scotland, known as Wanna Decryptor or "WannaCry", has infected 200,000 machines in over 150 countries since Friday.

Nine out of ten NHS organizations use antiquated computer systems, specifically Windows XP, according to the software company Citrix.

Payment is demanded within three days or the price is doubled, and if none is received within seven days the locked files will be deleted, according to the screen message.

"NCSC and NCA are working with Europol and other worldwide partners to make sure we all collect the right evidence, which we need to do to make sure we have the right material to find out who has done this and we go after them".

The attacks exploit a vulnerability in outdated versions of Microsoft Windows that is particularly problematic for corporations that don't automatically update their systems.

In New Zealand, the Government Communications Security Bureau said it had not received any reports of the malware infection.

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.

Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital has been hit by the nationwide cyber attack on the NHS. Microsoft has also issued emergency patches for unsupported, outdated versions of Windows.

Although the spread of WannaCry has slowed, more computers could be affected as a new working week begins.

Shipowners, managers and operators could use hard drive firewalls, such as Abatis to protect their networks from all types of malware, including Wannacry.

Microsoft also issued a security patch for older Windows operating systems that are no longer supported: Windows Server 2003 SP2 x64, Windows Server 2003 SP2 x86, Windows XP SP2 x64, Windows XP SP3 x86, Windows XP Embedded SP3 x86, Windows 8 x86 and Windows 8 x64 directly from Microsoft.

Microsoft is criticizing government agencies for hoarding software flaws and keeping them secret, calling a massive, new ransomware attack a "wake-up call" to this problem.

He said the governments around the world should treat the WannCrypt ransomware attack as a "wake-up call" and must "take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world".

"Most people are not paying this, so there are not a lot of money being made with this by criminal organisations so far", he said.

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