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5 ways to become a smaller target for ransomware hackers

19 May 2017, 08:52 | Rodolfo Wallace

(P. Goezelt/dpa via AP). However, it remains to be seen if such efforts would bear fruit. Germany's national railway says that it was among the organizations affected by the global cyberattack but.

The most public damage was on the country's largest movie chain.

A security guard stands outside the Telefonica headquarters in Madrid, Spain, Friday, May 12, 2017. Dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion.

Cyber security experts say the spread of the virus dubbed WannaCry - "ransomware" which locked up computers in auto factories, hospitals, shops and schools in several countries - has slowed, but that any respite might be brief.

This virus has been designed as a "worm", which means it can automatically spread to other computers on the same network.

It said Sunday that a similar cyberattack could also recur, though it did not have "specific evidence" of this. "Those who are running our free antivirus software or have Windows Update enabled, are protected".

On Friday, a security researcher inadvertently created a "kill switch" to help stop the spread of this ransomware.

Now that this "WannaCry" malware is out there, the world's computer systems are vulnerable to a degree they haven't been before, unless people everywhere move quickly to install Microsoft's security patches.

A massive ransomware attack targeted around 100 countries around the world.

Security wonks are calling it the biggest cyberattack ever.

One of the first "attacks" on the internet came in 1988, when a graduate student named Robert Morris Jr. released a self-replicating and self-propagating program known as a "worm" onto the then-nascent internet.

More than 75,000 similar attacks reportedly happened in nearly 100 countries, with Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan hardest hit, according to the cybersecurity firm Avast.

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How to protect your computer from this or any other kind of ransomware?

His concerns were echoed by James Clapper, former director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama. The malicious software infects a computer and restricts users' access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

Microsoft warned governments on Sunday (May 14) against storing computer vulnerabilities like the leaked one at the heart of the cyber attack that has crippled computers in more than 150 countries. Seeing businesses and individuals affected by cyber attacks, such as the ones reported today, was painful.

He said it was too early to say who is behind the onslaught and what their motivation was.

Thousands more infections were reported Monday, largely in Asia, which had been closed for business when the malware first struck Friday.

Wainwright said Europol had been concerned about cyber security in the healthcare sector, which deals with a lot of sensitive data, but declined to comment on whether Britain's National Health Service had been adequately funded.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise around the world. It crippled the British health care system for a day, infecting almost 20 percent of its health care groups, forcing medical treatments to be canceled or postponed for thousands of people.

British cybersecurity expert Graham Cluley doesn't want to blame the NSA for the attack. But the authorities remain on high alert, and experts warn the attackers could tweak the code and launch a fresh wave of attacks.

On Saturday, a cyber security researcher told AFP he had accidentally discovered a "kill switch" that could prevent the spread of the ransomware.

The hardest hit in Friday's attack were United Kingdom hospitals that had to revert to using pens, paper, and the staff's own mobile phones to tend to their patients.

The cyberextortion attack hitting dozens of countries spread quickly and widely thanks to an unusual confluence of factors: 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.



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