Massive ‘Ransomware’ attack hits 99 countries around the world

A large-scale cyberattack has spread across 99 countries, including the UK, US, China, Russia, Spain, Italy and India.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 13, 2017 3:24 pm
global cyberattack, ransomware attack, international cyberattack, cyberattack hits 99 countries, NSA tools, cyberattack UK, UK health service cyberattacks, WannaCry, technology, technology news Unknown hackers apparently launched ‘ransomware’ attacks, which basically encrypt files and demands a Bitcoin (a form of virtual currency) payment to regain access.

A large-scale cyberattack has spread across  99 countries, including the UK, US, China, Russia, Spain, Italy and India. The cyberattack has affected the IT systems of banks, telephone companies and hospitals.  No instance of the vulnerability being exploited in India has come to light yet.

Cyber-security firm Avast, a provider of Antivirus, said it had seen at least 75,000 computers been infected by the malware, dubbed ‘WannaCry’. Among the government agencies and companies affected include UK’s National Health Service, FedEx, Spain’s communications giant Telefonica and the Russian Interior Ministry.

Unknown hackers apparently launched ‘ransomware’ attacks, which basically encrypt  files and demands a Bitcoin (a form of virtual currency) payment to regain access. The message displaying on NHS computers has been circulated on social media and victims of the attack needs to send $300 or $600 to a bitcoin address.

In the U.K, the cyberattack has affected at least 16 organizations within the state-run National Health service. “The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor. This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organisations from across a range of sectors. At this stage we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed”, NHS Digital said in a statement.

The hackers, who are still unidentified, likely made a “self spreading malware”, by exploiting a piece of  NSA code known as “Eternal Blue” that was released by a group known as the Shadow Brokers. ‘WannaCry’ exploits a vulnerability on old Microsoft computers that was first discovered by the National Security Agency. Microsoft even released a patch for the exploit known as MS17-010, in March. But those machines that haven’t been updated, the malicious code encrypts all of an infected computer’s files – and then spread on its own.

The U.S Department of Homeland Security, in a statement, encouraged users to update their systems. “We are actively sharing information related to this event and stand ready to lend technical support and assistance as needed to our partners, both in the United States and internationally. DHS has a cadre of cybersecurity professionals that can provide expertise and support to critical infrastructure entities,”the department said.

In a statement, Kaspersky Lab said it was “currently working on the possibility of creating a decryption tool to help victims…we will provide an update when a tool is available”.

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  1. S
    srk
    May 15, 2017 at 10:04 am
    WHATS THE MATTER WITH THESE MORONS. HOW CAN SOMEONE BEAR SUCH HATRED TOWARDS SOMEONE'S RELIGION LIKE THIS, WHATS THE POINT OF WRITING SUCH IN HERE UNDER THIS HEADING
    Reply
    1. N
      Nahid
      May 14, 2017 at 1:43 am
      s: /DXmf9kDP3fA
      Reply
      1. S
        Sujatha Selvam
        May 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm
        Mr.Editor, you just cannot keep quiet like this? What is the heading and what are the comments here? Are they related in anyway? Why then you are allowing such venomous comments here. Please moderate and filter the ugly comments.
        Reply
        1. E
          Ekk Hindustani
          May 13, 2017 at 12:23 pm
          The world's first & biggest Malware attack happened in Saudi Arabia in 7th century when a highly destructive Muhammadi virus mutated into Islamic malware & its codes were written in a garbage unholy book. Since then, this virus is active and has massacred & butchered millions all over the world in terrorist attacks on humanity....
          Reply
          1. s
            sikan_der
            May 13, 2017 at 1:02 pm
            Islam has come to remove garbage like u from this world. Seeing the heavy influence of islam on ur helpless personality I bet ur offspring will very soon convert to islam.
            Reply
            1. R
              RANA
              May 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm
              Islamic filth is like cancerous parasite it feeds on its host and quickly spreads to new part and only cure for this swinemohammadans is chemotherapy. fun fact:- Islam prescribes "khatna" because its way of showing disrespect to the true god. because cutting off is way of saying "look god you have made us imperfect so we will cut it off ourself and become perfect" the greatest deciever of all is satan who sent his son mohammed to lure people away from the true god. quran is only holy book which tells is follower to lie known as taqaiya. it is only book which tells how to torture,kill,and distribute the loot. only a satan can come with such hatred not god. allah is just an alias of saitan
          2. E
            Ekk Hindustani
            May 13, 2017 at 12:22 pm
            The world's first & biggest Malware attack happened in Saudi Arabia in 7th century when a highly destructive Muhammadi virus mutated into Islamic malware & its codes were written in a garbage unholy book. Since then, this virus is active and has massacred & butchered millions all over the world in terrorist attacks on humanity.
            Reply
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