Massive Ransomware Attack Has Slowed, But Probably Isn't Over Forever

The malicious software has affected more than 2,00,000 computers in more than 150 countries.

In the wake of the attack, Microsoft released a patch for computers running older operating systems, including Windows IX, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.

In a blog post published on Sunday, Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, called out the USA government for "stockpiling" vulnerabilities, noting that the WannaCry malware used in the attack was stolen from the NSA and published by hackers.

The admission was leaped on by Putin.

Russian Federation has recently been accused of cyber meddling in several countries, but Putin said they had nothing to do with the attack.

Monday, President Donald Trump's homeland security adviser Tom Bossert confirmed FedEx was hit by the "WannaCry" malware.

"This was not a tool developed by the NSA to hold ransom data", he said, noting that no U.S. government systems had been hit.

"This is a global attack", he added.

On Sunday, Microsoft also railed against the government for "the stockpiling of vulnerabilities", which Microsoft said is an emerging pattern in 2017.

Vulnerabilities should be pointed out to manufacturers, he said.

"We have seen 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", wrote Smith.

There had been concern that yesterday's start of the working week would see an upsurge in attacks.

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Officials with Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, told The Guardian that businesses across the globe were likely to see a fresh round of attacks when employees returned to work on Monday.

The number of local victims is steadily rising.

United States package delivery giant FedEx, European vehicle factories, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, Britain's health service and Germany's Deutsche Bahn rail network were among those hit. The attackers demanded money to unblock their computers.

Japanese companies including Hitachi and Nissan Motor. reported some problems but said there was no major impact on their business operations.

The U.S. government clearly had its priorities wrong in not focusing on better protecting these cyberweapons, he said.

The badly affected National Health Service said seven out of 47 trusts that were hit were still facing serious issues.

French carmaker Renault said its Douai plant, one of its biggest sites in France employing 5,500 people, would be shut on Monday as systems were upgraded. If you don't pay within three days, the amount increases to $600.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that uses blockchain protocol, which supposedly allows users to remain completely anonymous while making or receiving payments. There's no guarantee that the criminals behind WannaCry will honor their end of the bargain, and security experts generally advise against paying ransoms, but dozens of people have already paid off the WannaCry operators, and we're not hearing reports that their files haven't been unlocked after the ransom payment.

According to Subhendu Sahu, Acting Country Manager for India, FireEye, the ransomware poses high risks to organisations using potentially vulnerable Windows machines.

It's believed a group connected to the National Security Agency, known as The Equation Group, found or purchased previously undiscovered flaws in Microsoft Windows code and used them to create cyber-snooping and infiltration tools.

Ransomware normally generates a unique Bitcoin address for each machine infected so it can track who has paid, said Check Point.

Although the economic fallout is still unknown, the political fallout "will be significant" according to the Eurasia consultancy.

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