A screenshot of the warning screen from a purported ransomware attack, as captured by a computer user in Taiwan, is seen on laptop in Beijing.
Before it was accidentally (and only temporarily) shut down, WannaCry had locked down more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, affecting banks, universities and hospitals, with a demand that the targets pay $300 worth of bitcoins by May 20. The tools were made public by a hacking group called the Shadow Brokers. In the UK's National Health Service, which was particularly badly hit, at least 47 organisations were affected. Companies - especially ones using older computer equipment that runs Windows XP.
Microsoft has introduced a security patch to tackle the situation, and consumers across the globe have been advised to download the solution at the earliest.CERT-In today said it has not received any formal report of cyber attack on India's vital networks by the crippling global ransomware, "WannaCry".
"We have reached a turning point where it is not sustainable for governments to think they can retain vulnerabilities for very long", said Ari Schwartz, who oversaw technology security issues at the National Security Council during the Obama administration. "This is an emerging pattern in 2017".
Blaming the ransomware attack on stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments, Microsoft said, "vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world". "An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen". "They need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world".
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As with the NSA's EternalBlue, the tool on which WannaCry was based, EsteeMaudit exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows software in the way in which networked machines communicate with each other.
Microsoft released a security update to patch the vulnerability on March 14, a month before the theft of exploits from the NSA was publicly reported, Smith said. Staff said they would continue to monitor and update their systems as a precaution. Over the weekend, Microsoft rolled out a patch for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 8.
"We believe the recent ransomware attack could accelerate the Windows upgrade cycle for enterprises, which would drive further upside to Office 365 Commercial MAUs [monthly active users] beyond what is now factored into our estimates", he added.
"T$3 his attack demonstrates the degree to which cybersecurity has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers", Smith said in his blog post.