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Governments Must Treat Cyber Attack as 'Wake-Up Call — Microsoft President

16 May 2017

Microsoft has criticised the U.S. government in the aftermath of a massive ransomware cyberattack that hit computers around the globe on Friday, after it emerged that the malware made use of a software exploited developed by the NSA (National Security Agency).

Carmaker Renault said one of its French plants, which employs 3,500 people, wasn't reopening Monday as a "preventative step" while technicians deal with the aftermath of the attack.

Nothing has yet been withdrawn from any of the bitcoin accounts, and law enforcement agencies watching them say the perpetrators could be hard to trace until they access some of the ransom money.

Europol said a special task force at its European Cybercrime Centre was "specially created to assist in such investigations and will play an important role in supporting the investigation".

Capitalising on spying tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, the virus dubbed WannaCry has blocked more than 200,000 computers across the globe, demanding a ransom to unlock them.

Individuals or organisations are not encouraged to pay the ransom as this does not guarantee files will be released.

But experts and government alike warn against ceding to the hackers' demands.

WannaCry is a ransomware that locks down systems by encrypting data and demands ransom amount.

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In wake of the growing WannaCry Ransomware threat, India's cyber security agency Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) on Monday conducted a webcast following the critical alert.

Most automated teller machines (ATMs) were running fine, there could be some which may not have updated Microsofts Windows operating system, sources said.

"And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today - nation-state action and organized criminal action".

The virus was able to infect many systems on Friday because some users didn't install the latest security update, leaving computers vulnerable for any attack.

He said tech companies, customers and the government need to "work together" to protect against attacks.

USA software firm Symantec said the majority of organisations affected were in Europe, and the attack was believed to be indiscriminate.

European governments and companies appeared early Monday to have avoided further fallout from a crippling global cyberattack, the police agency Europol said.

Kyodo News said one personal computer was affected at one office at East Japan Railway Co., but train services were not affected.

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Kaspersky said it was "trying to determine whether it is possible to decrypt data locked in the attack - with the aim of developing a decryption tool as soon as possible".

Meanwhile, new versions of the ransomware have reportedly surfaced, including one without the kill switch exploited by a 22-year-old computer security researcher to shut the attack down.

"If you have anything to patch, patch it", the researcher said in a blog post.

A hacking group called Shadow Brokers released the malware in April claiming to have discovered the flaw from the NSA, Kaspersky said.

Shares in cybersecurity specialist Sophos surged more than 7 per cent this morning, following the major cyber attack that took place over the weekend.

Britain's National Health Service said about a fifth of NHS trusts - the regional bodies that run hospitals and clinics - were hit by the attack on Friday, leading to thousands of cancelled appointments and operations.

"We're not talking about a government organisation or a hospital or anything like that".

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Governments Must Treat Cyber Attack as 'Wake-Up Call — Microsoft President