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23 May 2017, 11:17 | Deanna Wagner
A screen shot of the page computers infected with the Wanna Cry ransomware variant display
The ransomware attack that began on Friday - known as WannaCry - is believed to be the largest cyber exploitation attack recorded, according to multiple cybersecurity experts. However, the evidence is not conclusive. Attacks of this kind have spiked in the past year, jumping from 340,665 in 2015 to 463,841 in 2016, according to online security company Symantec. "Once such attacks come out in the public domain and they usually get patched by the maintainers of the OS".
'The United States, more than probably any other country, is extremely careful with their processes about how they handle any vulnerabilities that they're aware of, ' Tom Bossert, the White House homeland security adviser, said at a press briefing on Monday.
A Cybercpace Administration of China official said on Monday, that although the virus is still spreading, it has slowed.
The WannaCry attack "bore some striking similarities to the code used in those three attacks". The unprecedented planet-wide attack is another harbinger of the world's exposure to hackers and digital terrorists. Moreover, in addition to Symantec, researchers at Google and Kaspersky Lab confirmed the coding similarities, the Times reports.
"Technology companies owe their customers a reliable process for patching security vulnerabilities", he said. The software is WannaCry ransomware which took over the machines of more than 150 countries including India. The program takes control over a user's system and brings up a message telling users they can recover their files only if they send $300, or in some cases $600 in bitcoins to a specific address.
Experts are suspecting that the next wave of attacks will be subjected to the banking sector.
At present, the so-called "kill switch" for the attack, discovered by a young British cybersecurity researcher, is no longer effective.
"Hopefully people are learning how important it is to apply these patches", said Darien Huss, a senior security research engineer for cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, who helped stem the reach of the weekend attack.
Sadly, your only options are to pay the ransom or to try Bleeping Computer's guide to removing WannaCry from your system, though we can not confirm at this time whether or not it works. Users are also advised to back up valuable data regularly, either to cloud services or to another disk drives, an not click on suspicious links or attached files. "(The unit has since been renamed.)", according to the Times.
"For Microsoft to say that governments should stop developing exploits to Microsoft products is naive", said Brian Lord, a managing director at PGI Cyber and former deputy director at the Government Communications Headquarters, one of the UK's intelligence agencies. This is an emerging pattern in 2017.
The computing giant said software vulnerabilities hoarded by governments had caused "widespread damage", the BBC reported.
Smith said that Friday's attack demonstrated how cyber security was becoming a shared responsibility between customer and supplier.
A researcher from Google posted on Twitter that an early version of WannaCrypt from February shared some of the same programming code as malicious software used by the Lazarus Group, the alleged North Korean government hackers behind the destructive attack on Sony Corporation in 2014 and the theft of $81 million from a Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Fed previous year. And while Microsoft said it had already released a security update to patch the vulnerability one month earlier, the sequence of events fed speculation that the NSA hadn't told the us tech giant about the security risk until after it had been stolen.
The new hacking tool also exploits weaknesses in older versions of Microsoft Windows software and was stolen from the US National Security Agency, like the stolen tool that formed the basis of last week's WannaCry attack.
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The cyberattack, which began in London Friday morning, has so far affected 150 countries and locked 200,000 computers . Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage.
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