Microsoft to NSA: WannaCry is your fault

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It is far from over as newer versions of the WannaCry ransomware is spreading.

Among those affected are Germany's rail system, Renault and Nissan factories, FedEx, Spanish telecom Telefónica, and Russia's central bank.

Nonetheless, Bossert added that "we may still see a significant impact on additional networks as these malware attacks morph and change".

The one consistent thing here is that it is Microsoft Windows that is vulnerable - or, at least, out of date versions of the operating system.

Security officials in Britain urged organizations to protect themselves by installing the security fixes, running antivirus software and backing up data elsewhere. Hackers then demanded a $300 ransom (double that after 72 hours) to unlock the device and all saved files.

Lee Kim, director of privacy and security for HIMSS North America, contends that there have been anecdotal reports by healthcare providers around the world-including the US -of infections affecting their computers and medical devices.

For these reasons, it is not likely to face legal issues concerning the flaws in Windows being taken advantage of by the ransomware.

On Monday, private-sector sleuths found a clue about who might be responsible for the WannaCry attack. If people would have acted more carefully online, the attack would not have extended so much.

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Likewise, Reg Harnish, CEO of GreyCastle Security, comments that "it's tough to think of another ransomware situation that has been this impactful". "It is therefore absolutely imperative that any organization that believes they may be affected follows and implements this guidance". That is what the WannaCry attack, and the likelihood that it will only be the first in a string of similar incursions, offers.

Likewise, Bossert emphasized that the only computers that can be compromised by WannaCry are those that do not have the latest security patches available from Microsoft.

When opened the software tells users that their files have been encrypted and gives them a few days to pay up or their files will be deleted.

As per Microsoft, on Friday the malware bout started and it has been related by some virus software company's researchers to earlier hits by a North Korean-run hacking process, controlled the instrument constructed by the National Security Agency that leaked in April month via the Internet. While software companies of major operating systems like Microsoft, Google, and Apple can patch vulnerabilities that can be exploited by this malware, malevolent hackers are also one step ahead as they can create a new version that can have negative global ramifications on millions of computers and machines. At the same time, the majority of those caught trousers down were running operating systems that Microsoft itself had basically decommissioned.

"The fact that it started out in Europe served as an early warning system of sorts for USA organizations to ensure that they had time for patches to be implemented", says Riggi.

It all depends on what sort of data has been encrypted. To be extra safe from hackers, after backing up your data onto an external drive, unplug the drive from the computer and put it away.

Greg Slabodkin is managing editor of Health Data Management.

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