How to protect your computers from global cyberattack

How to protect your computers from global cyberattack

The ransomware is spread by taking advantage of a Windows vulnerability that Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) released a security patch for in March. "We've seen that the slowdown of the infection rate over Friday night, after a temporary fix around it, has now been overcome by a second variation the criminals have released".

Clapper, who served as intelligence director under President Barack Obama, calls it a "very serious, serious problem".

Bossert said he expected the number of people affected would rise as more workers logged into their work computers on Monday.

Europol, the European Union's police agency, says the worldwide "ransomware" cyberattack has so far hit more than 100,000 organizations in at least 150 countries.

"Affected machines have six hours to pay up and every few hours the ransom goes up", said Kurt Baumgartner, the principal security researcher at security firm Kaspersky Lab.

The ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users' access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

Security experts say the unprecedented ransomeware attack that on Friday locked up computers across the globe including United Kingdom hospital, FedEx, train systems in Germany among other institutions in exchange for payment, could cause even more trouble as the work week begins.

Chinese media reported on Sunday that students at several universities were hit, blocking access to their thesis papers and dissertation presentations. Cybersecurity experts say the unknown hackers who launched this weekend's "ransomware" attacks used a vulnerability that was exposed in NSA documents leaked online. The WannaCry attack should give urgency to boosting cyber security. That low-cost move redirected the attacks to MalwareTech's server, which operates as a "sinkhole" to keep malware from escaping.

French carmaker Renault was forced to stop production at sites in France, Slovenia and Romania, while FedEx said it was "implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible". While governments and corporations scramble to perform damage control, here's what we know about the origins of this cyber attack, who might be to blame and what you can do to protect yourself.

Global cyberattack: A super-simple explanation of what happened
There's Microsoft, whose ubiquitous Windows operating systems were compromised after attackers exploited a security hole. Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage.

"As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems", Mr. Smith said.

The virus exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows XP software, first identified by the US National Security Agency.

The tools behind the attack originated within the NSA.

Two months after Microsoft issued its security patch, thousands of computers remained vulnerable to the WannaCry attack.

Microsoft has meanwhile said that they rolled out a patch to fix the issue, but certain targets, including the hospitals in Britain, had not yet updated their systems. But Villasenor said there is "no flawless solution" to the problem.

'MNCs, banks, telecom and big IT firms are prepared to deal with such attacks as they have got their cyber policy in place by installing latest updates, anti-virus software and firewalls.

There were reports that the virus has infected around 10 computers in the offices of West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company, state power minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay confirmed.

With an aim to prevent the cyber attack "WannaCry", the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said that it has already activated a "preparedness and response mechanism".