Hospitals remain key targets as ransomware attacks expected to increase

Wednesday, 17 May, 2017

The European Cybercrime Centre, EC3, at Europol said that the "recent [WannaCrypt] attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits".

Ransomware is a kind of malicious software that, as its name implies, takes a computer hostage and holds it for ransom. She had just finished revising her thesis late on Friday when her screen went black and the hackers' message appeared. In Bengal, some computers of the state electricity discom were hit.

Experts expressed concern that there would be a resurgence in attacks when people return to work.

Russian Railways: State media said a virus attacked the IT system of Russian Railways, but it did not affect operations due to a prompt response.

More than 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries have been hit so far by the ransomware, which has netted the party responsible at least $49,000 in Bitcoin payments, according to recent news reports.

In a separate malware attack past year, 3.2 lakh debit cards were compromised in the country.

The new ransomware demands 0.11943 bitcoin, or about $218.

EU Commissioner for Security Julian King told the BBC on Monday that the EU was proposing legislation to reinforce cyber security in the wake of the attack.

"It is deeply disturbing the National Security Agency likely wrote the original malware".

Most automated teller machines (ATMs) were running fine, there could be some which may not have updated Microsoft's Windows operating system, sources said.

Earlier on Monday, Chinese traffic police and schools reported they had been targeted as it rolled into Asia for the new work week.

"You are dealing with a criminal", he said.

Q: I've been hit by WannaCry.

Colleges: Internet security firm Qihoo360 issued a "red alert" over the weekend, saying a large number of colleges and students in China had been hit by the ransomware attack. Security experts continue to urge victims to not pay the ransom fee.

The ransomware encrypts data on the computer using an encryption key that only the attacker knows.

The bad news is, you might be stuck with paying or wiping your machine and starting over from a clean install. In the face of this week's unprecedented massive ransomware attack, Microsoft quickly worked to patch unsupported operating systems such as Windows XP, still in use by many of its customers. If not, update right away.

Q: What about Apple and Android devices? But this doesn't mean those whose computers run on Apple or Linux code should feel smug. Searching questions are being asked of institutions that failed to protect their networks and of the organisations that were best-placed to stop the attacks.

The WannaCry ransomware has quickly infected healthcare and government systems all over Europe and put lives at risk in the United Kingdom by knocking many hospital systems offline.

Who was behind the attack?

The vulnerability in Windows that WannaCry takes advantage of was discovered by the NSA for its surveillance toolkit. An anonymous group called Shadow Brokers released that malware, called "WannaCrypt", onto the internet.

WannaCry exploits a vulnerability in older versions of Windows, including Windows 7 and Windows XP. He said the software attacking a vulnerability had been incorporated with other software and delivered in a way to cause "infection, encryption and locking".

In a blog post, he said: "An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

In a recently updated statement, the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said that the situation had stabilized.

Other tips: consider installing security software if you don't have it already, back up your computer to the cloud or external hard drive.

Industrial conglomerate Hitachi Ltd. (6501.T) said the attack had affected its systems at some point over the weekend, leaving them unable to receive and send e-mails or open attachments in some cases.

"There are certain organizations or sectors - e.g. medical - where patching is not a simple matter", Carsten Eiram, chief research officer at vulnerability intelligence firm Risk Based Security, said via email.