Global cyber-attack's success largely rests with laziness, neglect, procrastination

The ransomware exploits a vulnerability in outdated versions of Microsoft Windows that is particularly problematic for corporations that don't automatically update their systems.

Reuters reported that U.S President Donald Trump ordered his homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, to hold an emergency meeting Friday night to assess the threat posed by the ransomware attack. The press release adds that the police, industrial authorities and the sectors of computer technology, education, banking and cyber-space, as well as some computer security companies, have already taken measures to respond to the attack.

While that quick thinking may have slowed the outbreak, MalwareTech said he was now looking into a possible second wave of attacks.

Security officials in Britain urged organizations to protect themselves by installing the security fixes, running antivirus software and backing up data elsewhere.

Whether you manage a network or only have one computer, you should download security updates as soon as they are available - no matter what operating system you use.

The worldwide "ransomware" cyberattack spread to thousands more computers on Monday as people across Asia logged in at work, disrupting businesses, schools, hospitals and daily life.

"The number of infected computers has not increased as expected, which is a success", European law enforcement agency Europol said Monday.

Attackers are demanding $300 in Bitcoin as part of the ransomware attack. Microsoft released patches last month and on Friday to fix a vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across networks.

A spokesperson for the Russian Health Ministry, Nikita Odintsov, said on Twitter that the cyber attacks on his ministry were "effectively repelled". "The more intelligent people are working on these puzzles, they more likely they can find a solution for its victims".

Users will be able to enjoy intuitive and responsive "cross-devices experiences" and their interactions will become more harmonious.

The effects were felt across the globe, with Britain's National Health Service, Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica, FedEx Corp.in the USA and French carmaker Renault all reporting disruptions.

The software tools to create the attack were revealed in April among a trove of NSA spy tools that were either leaked or stolen. An analyst from MalwareTech on Friday stumbled upon a way to halt the initial attack, unwittingly activating a kill switch, By Monday, however, hackers had changed the code so that kill switch no longer worked.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting the technology's link to the USA spy service, said it should be "discussed immediately on a serious political level".

The Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue as part of a trove of hacking tools that they said belonged to the United States spy agency.

In the United Kingdom, hospitals run by NHS were among the most impacted.

In Indonesia, two hospitals were affected by the attack.

Global standards should compel countries not to stockpile or exploit software vulnerabilities, Smith says.

"The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex global investigation to identify the culprits", the European police agency added.

The UK government called a meeting of its crisis response committee, known as Cobra, to discuss how to handle the situation.

  • Geraldine Cohen