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Ransomware hits 'hundreds of thousands' of China PCs

19 May 2017

"This one, we knew it could be a problem", the official told Reuters."NSA should be embarrassed - they've had a lot of damaging leaks", said James Lewis, a former USA official who is now a cyber expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

At least eight Australian businesses have been hit by a global cyber attack, but the country appears to have avoided the worst.

Wallace denied that underinvestment in the NHS - a key claim of the opposition Labour Party ahead of the June 8 election - may have left health services exposed to such attacks.

Although there is no evidence that patient data was compromised, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the BBC that NHS must learn from the attack and upgrade its IT systems. Ransomware encrypts a victim's data and will only provide a key for access upon the payment of ransom. Nonetheless, officials and security firms seemed optimistic, telling news outlets that the spread was starting to slow.

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Several former government officials also weighed in on the attack, highlighting the importance of updating and securing health IT systems.

The newspaper said that the role of the USA security apparatus in the attack should "instill greater urgency" in China's mission to replace foreign technology with its own.

In what one of the most significant cyberattacks ever recorded, computer systems from the U.K.to Russia, Brazil and the USA were hit beginning Friday by malicious software that exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows operating system. -National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes and later leaked online.

"Although we have never seen anything on this scale when it comes to ransomware attacks, they are relatively common and there are things that you can do, that everyone can do, all of us can do, to protect ourselves against them", he said. That amount is expected to increase.

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China is preparing to enforce a security law that US businesses believe will keep foreign companies out of the country because of its plan to enforce strict local data laws and surveillance requirements.

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

That said, a hacker could remove the domain and try the ransomware attack again, reports CNN.

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call", Smith said.

"While Microsoft's release of back-ported patches is a commendable proactive action, the ACSC considers organisations running Windows XP, Server 2003 and other unsupported operating systems to be exposed to extreme risk", the organisation said in a statement. The feature notifies you when important updates are available on your computer.

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The state-run People's Daily compared the cyber attack to the terrorist hacking depicted in the US film "Die Hard 4", warning that China's role in global trade and internet connectivity opened it to increased risks from overseas. Plus, with two new variations of the malware already detected, we might not be out of the woods just yet.

Ransomware hits 'hundreds of thousands' of China PCs