NHS cyber attack: A&Es 'fully open' again

The ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock

The ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock

The Friday's cyber attack hit roughly 200,000 computers in at least 150 countries (according to Europol) around the globe.

The hack used a technique purportedly stolen from the US National Security Agency to target Microsoft's market-leading Windows operating system. The virus encrypts a computer's files and then demands a ransom - US$300 in Bitcoin - to recover their data, with no guarantee the computer would be released unharmed.

"The WannaCrypt exploits used in the attack were drawn from the exploits stolen from the National Security Agency", Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith says.

Another reader said they received a call from someone saying there was a major problem with their Windows.

The argument that it's the NSA's fault has merit, according to Alex Abdo, staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

Problems with cyber security in NHS organisations were highlighted a year ago by Dame Fiona Caldicott, the national data guardian, who warned that issues were given insufficient priority and that health bodies persisted in using obsolete computer systems, The Times said.

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The U.K. government's cyber office put it succinctly: "T$3 he way these attacks work means that compromises of machines and networks that have already occurred may not yet have been detected, and that existing infections from the malware can spread within networks". "When a design flaw is discovered in a vehicle, manufacturers issue a recall".

The so-called WannaCry hack takes advantage of a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows, leveraging an exploit stolen from the NSA in April to lock the computer systems of companies ranging from hospitals to auto manufacturers in exchange for ransom.

"There are so many states that have been affected". The malware primarily targeted users of Windows XP, which was launched by Microsoft in 2001.

However, such things do not pass under the radar of smart hackers, and security architect Kevin Beaumont was quick to find the old picture from Sophos' website in Google's cache and post it on his Twitter account, along with the new one.

But with Microsoft making an exception this time and providing the patch free to XP users, it may come under pressure to do the same next time it issues a critical security update. Support for Windows XP ended in 2014, 12 years after the software was introduced. The precedent may impact other software sellers, too.

"We could use a national cybersecurity policy", said Gartner cybersecurity analyst Avivah Litan. "That's going to become a more common practice".

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So far, nobody knows precisely who was behind the attack.

Microsoft has blamed the USA government for creating the software code that was used by hackers to launch the cyber-attacks. Others subsequently confirmed the Google researcher's work.

The fact that over 70 percent of the initially reported "WannaCry" infections took place in Russian Federation raises the very real possibility that the current disaster is the result of a Stuxnet-like cyberattack by the United States. Some security researchers speculated that if the perpetrators were North Korean, the goal may have been to cause a widespread Internet outage to coincide with this weekend's latest missile test.

Wu Yunkun, president of 360 Business Security Group, told chinadaily.com.cn to curb the virus's spread, the company had provided eight versions of warning notices, seven fix guides and six fix tools to their government and enterprises customers as of Monday morning.

"The National Cyber Security Centre and the NCA (National Crime Agency) are working with Europol and other global partners", said Rudd.

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