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20 May 2017, 02:40 | Deanna Wagner
The security holes it exploits were disclosed several weeks ago by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious group that has published what it says are hacking tools used by the NSA as part of its intelligence-gathering. All supported versions of Windows with Windows Update and Windows Defender running are impacted by this vulnerability - including Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.
Microsoft itself has come under fire for not providing regular security updates for older versions of its software.
Consumers are also at risk.
The NSA exploits used by WannaCrypt, code named ETERNALBLUE and DOUBLEPULSAR, target the older Windows Server MessageBlock (SMB) version 1 file sharing protocol.
But he also placed fault in national governments.
Some hospitals were forced to cancel procedures and appointments, as ambulances were directed to neighbouring hospitals free from the computer virus.
High-profile victims include hospitals in Britain, the Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, French carmaker Renault, US package delivery company FedEx, Russia's interior ministry and the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn.
Once a vulnerable PC becomes infected, the computer will attempt to spread to other machines over the local network as well as over the internet.
Apple's Mac computers were not targeted by this ransomware attack. "If you need that data back, you're going to pay". "If you are not using a security solution we strongly recommend you install protection". Researchers from various cyber security firms said the hackers, who have not yet identified themselves, made a self-spreading malware by exploiting a piece of NSA code. The ease of stopping the attack suggests the hackers were new to this game. The temporary fix initially helped slow down the rate of infected computers.
Following on from the news that the NHS and organisations in 150 countries around the world have been affected by a cyber attack, there have been fresh fears that the ransomware virus could spread even further when people return to work on Monday.
Experts say the spread of the virus had been stymied by a security researcher in the United Kingdom hackers have issued new versions of the virus that cybersecurity organizations are actively trying to counter and stamp out.
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