Ransomware cyber-attack a wake-up call

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WannaCry is not just a ransomware program, it's also a worm.

In the wake of a major cyber attack that affected hospitals and other services in more than 150 countries, Microsoft has urged governments to stop their stockpiling of risky software that can be weaponized if leaked.

The WannaCry program encrypts your files and demands payment in bitcoin in order to regain access. That prompted the company to issue another patch on Friday for older and unsupported operating systems such as Windows XP, allowing users to secure their systems without requiring an upgrade to the latest operating software.

The longer the users wait, the higher the ransom money. First intimations of the attack came in the United Kingdom at about afternoon local time on Friday, by when the weekend had begun in India.

"'On Monday morning at the start of the new working week it's likely that successful attacks from Friday that haven't yet become apparent will become apparent", he told the Press Association.

The apparent chink in the NHS's defences led to criticism of the Government, with the Liberal Democrats demanding an inquiry.Labour's shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, in a letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said concerns were repeatedly flagged about outdated computer systems.

Microsoft said the situation was "painful" and that it was taking "all possible actions to protect our customers". Equally vulnerable will be government establishments, he added.

Robert Pritchard, a former cybersecurity expert at Britain's defense ministry, said security specialists might not be able to keep pace with the hackers.

Cyber Security Minister Dan Tehan declared three Australian businesses were affected by the unprecedented ransomware attack. Experts did not divulge names of the organisations that have been hit. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), through a webcast has addressed all the issues of the WannaCry ransomware, from how it affects a user and organization and its safety measures.

"Only a small section of the computer-based data system, and not the entire system, of the Maharashtra police department has got affected". Install Microsoft's patch. 3. Experts say it will be hard for them to replicate the conditions that allowed the so-called WannaCry ransomware to proliferate across the globe. The attack froze computers at hospitals across the country, with some canceling all routine procedures. Cybersecurity experts say the unknown hackers who launched this weekend's "ransomware" attacks used a vulnerability that was exposed in NSA documents leaked online.

In India, the government said it had only received a few reports of attacks on systems and urged those hit not to pay attackers any ransom. Trishneet Arora, CEO, TAC Security, said manufacturing companies in Mumbai, Gujarat and even jewellery manufacturing companies have reached out to him to safeguard their systems.

Around a fifth of NHS trusts were hit in the attack, forcing them to postpone operations and procedures over the weekend.

It said Sunday that a similar cyberattack could also recur, though it did not have "specific evidence" of this.

Among those waking up Monday to a nasty surprise could be government officials, some analysts said. Details will be announced on MyGov and Social Media.

The cyberattack has hit 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, according to Rob Wainwright, executive director of Europol, the European Union's police agency.

Europol has warned of an escalating threat as employees return to work on Monday and boot their Windows PCs.