Ransomware attack should be wake-up call for govts

The head of the European Union police agency said that the cyber assault has so far hit 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries. and that number would grow when people return to work on Monday.

The extortion attack, also called ransomware, used "WannaCry" malware that encrypts users' files until users pay a ransom. "The first thing that they are not doing is checking what systems have been affected", Subhamangala, Cyber Security expert told ANI.

Businesses and large organizations are mostly at risk of this attack because of a flaw in a Windows protocol that many businesses use to share files.

Microsoft announced late Friday it was taking the "highly unusual step" of providing a security update for outdated Windows platforms, including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003, for computers not running Windows 10. Many public computers still have Windows XP installed, and they could be susceptible to the malware if IT administrators have not downloaded the appropriate security patches.

Microsoft has already developed and circulated a security patch to protect Windows' users from the WannaCry virus, the most risky and widespread ransomware attack, so far.

A ransomware attack appears to be spreading around the world, leveraging a hacking tool that may have come from the U.S. National Security Agency. Wanna Decryptor, or WannaCry, is a form of ransomware that affects Microsoft's Windows operating system. The virus took control of users' files and demanded $300 (£230) payments to restore access.

Following the alert, the Gujarat government began equipping its state computer systems with anti-virus softwares and upgrading its Microsoft operating systems.

That is one lesson of this global computer attack.

The Cyber Security experts have put that numerous hackers have started to build new versions of the original cyber virus.

"More action is needed, and it's needed now".

On Friday, a security researcher inadvertently created a "kill switch" to help stop the spread of this ransomware. It infiltrates computers by way of links and attachments in spam emails.

According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), it has activated a "preparedness and response mechanism" by instructing CERT-IN (Computer Emergency Response Team) to gather "all the information of the reported ransomware".

  • Carolyn Briggs