Ransomware attack: Banks, airports, telecom services on high alert in India

Angelica Greene
May 16, 2017

Just such a stockpiled flaw was behind the rapaciousness and rapidity with which the WannaCry ransomware spread.

The cyberattack has hit more than 300,000 computers, White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said at Monday's midday White House briefing.

Chinese state media reported on Monday morning that more than 29,000 institutions across the country have been infected, along with hundreds of thousands of devices, while companies in Japan were also hit. They also typically have open networks where "everything is accessible to everything else on the network".

"The vast majority of patients have noticed no difference".

"The government's response has been chaotic, to be frank", the British Labour Party's health spokesman Jon Ashworth said.

"During 2015, law enforcement saw an increase in these types of cyber attacks, particularly against organizations because the payoffs are higher", Federal Bureau of Investigation officials wrote. Brad Smith criticized US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency, for "stockpiling" software code that can be used by hackers.

"We are asking all patients to attend their booked outpatient appointments and operations as planned tomorrow unless they receive a telephone call asking them not to attend, as some of our systems are still affected. Which we will", she said.

A Microsoft spokesman reached Sunday said the company had no comment.

Germany's rail operator Deutsche Bahn said its station display panels were affected.

Britain's National Health Service (NHS) is the world's fifth largest employer after the USA and Chinese militaries, Walmart and McDonald's.

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United Kingdom hospitals were among the organizations affected by the ransomware outbreak. But reports soon came in from all over the world.

The evidence suggests that the unknown attackers had only one goal: profit.

In the US, "the list of victims is very small", a Department of Homeland Security official tells NPR, noting that it's still relatively early in the WannaCry attack. Instead of having to develop their own arsenals of cyberweapons, they simply had to repurpose work done by the highly skilled cyber experts at the NSA, said Phillip Hallam-Baker, principal scientist at the cybersecurity firm Comodo.

The ransomware is spread by taking advantage of a Windows vulnerability that Microsoft released a security patch for in March.

He said Russian Federation and India were hit particularly hard, largely because Microsoft's Windows XP - one of the operating systems most at risk - was still widely used there.

"These alerts included a patch to protect their systems".

Microsoft also issued a statement, calling the circumstances painful.

Seven hospital trusts were still experiencing problems earlier on Monday, among them St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

Ransomware has been a looming threat for a while, last Friday's attack was the most severe to date, combining worm-like deployment that enabled the infection to spread rapidly from computer to computer.

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth, in a letter to Mr Hunt, said concerns were repeatedly flagged about outdated computer systems and he accused the Government of "raiding" NHS capital budgets to fund day-to-day spending.

Other reports by GizPress

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