A ransomware called WannaCry began hitting computers and wreaking havoc across the world on Saturday. It locks down all the files on an infected computer. 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. That's why it's called ransomware.
'We take every single cyberattack on a Windows system seriously, and we've been working around the clock since Friday to help all our customers who have been affected by this incident. -National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes and later leaked online. When the NSA itself was attacked and its cache of vulnerabilities stolen and published, the flaw became public knowledge and, it seems, the basis for the WannaCry attack. Microsoft released a software update in March that protects against this vulnerability, but we've since learned that many people didn't update their computers.
The first reports are coming in of WannaCry ransomware impacting computer users in New Zealand.
Consumers are also at risk.
So far, more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries have been affected, with victims including hospitals, banks, telecommunications companies and warehouses. At least 16 British National Health Service organisations were hit by the attack.
Some hospitals were compelled to cancel treatments and appointments, and divert ambulances to other sites as authoroties try to deal with the situation. Security firms say Russian Federation was the country that was hit the hardest.
Anyone who hasn't updated their Windows PC recently.
It combined a known and highly risky security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and a software design that allowed the malware to spread quickly once inside university, business and government networks.
Computer security experts have assured individual computer users who have kept their PC operating systems updated that they are relatively safe.
"The fact that so many computers remained vulnerable two months after the release of a patch illustrates this aspect", Smith wrote Sunday. Install Microsoft's patch. 3. Note this means that the backup can't be on your computer but should be in the cloud or on an external hard drive. This move will prevent their systems from falling prey to the malware that has attacked payment systems across the world.
None of the firms targeted indicated whether they had paid or would pay the hackers ransom. 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.
"People going back to work on Monday may switch on their computers and see their systems have been impacted", he said.
Technical staff scrambled on Sunday to patch computers and restore infected ones, amid fears that a ransomware worm that stopped auto factories, hospitals, shops and schools could wreak fresh havoc on Monday when employees log back on.
United Kingdom security researcher "MalwareTech", who helped to limit the ransomware attack, predicted "another one coming... quite likely on Monday (today)".
The security firm Kaspersky Lab, based in Russian Federation, noted that Microsoft had repaired the software problem that allows backdoor entry into its operating systems weeks before hackers published the exploit linked to the NSA, but also said: "Unfortunately it appears that many users have not yet installed the patch".