Ransomware WannaCry attack: Banks cautious, shut down ATMs operating on old software

The "ransomware" cyberattack that has hit as many as 200,000 victims in over 150 countries should be treated by governments around the world as a "wake- up call", IT giant Microsoft has said.

However, Bossert warned that following the patching advice from Microsoft and the Federal Bureau of Investigation should be a top priority to stop the spread of ransomware, which has hit a number of large-profile companies, including FedEx. If a more recent version of Windows is running on the computer and it stays up-to-date, it should not be vulnerable to the current attack or WannaCry. In this post, we'll tell you what WannaCry is, what developments we've seen over the past three days, and how to protect yourself.

Businesses and networks across Asia are coping with the first wave of WannaCry during their workweek.

The authors of WannaCry utilised this NSA tool to create the mechanism by which the ransomware spreads from one computer to another.

The ransomware, identified as a malicious program called "WannaCrypt", demanded Bitcoin payments to unlock infected systems.

What exactly does WannaCry do?

If every ransom ends up being paid, the hackers could make more than $1 billion from the breach.

Security researchers say they encounter "ransomware" every day: malicious software that hijacks your computer and scrambles your files, demanding money to get them back.

The global ransomware plague started infecting computers on Friday, abusing an exploit discovered by the NSA that was leaked to the public by the Shadow Brokers hacker group. It seized the computers of a lot of countries and took the systems as a hostage.

A report from cyber security company F-Secure suggests that Russian Federation and China were the biggest victims of the attack.

Matt Suiche, Microsoft MVP and founder of Comae Technologies, a cybersecurity company based in the United Arab Emirates, found a WannaCry ransomware variant using a different domain that he was able to register in order to slow the infection.

How can I protect myself from WannaCry? Although the origin of the code hasn't been officially confirmed, the release garnered enough attention to prompt Microsoft to issue a security patch for Windows XP, even though it had previously said it was no longer going to update the aging software.

Over the weekend, hospitals in the United Kingdom were forced to turn away some patients as a result of a computer virus that had infected its systems.

In the US, "the list of victims is very small", a Department of Homeland Security official tells NPR, noting that it's still relatively early in the WannaCry attack. Antivirus companies and cybersecurity experts are hard at work looking for ways to decrypt files on infected computers, but no means of third-party decryption are available right now.

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