Microsoft criticizes governments stockpiling software vulnerabilities following WannaCrypt ransomware attack

Hooded man holds laptop computer as blue screen with an exclamation mark is projected on him in this illustration

The global ransomware cyber attack shut down hundreds of thousands of computers around the world over the past few days by exploiting a software vulnerability.

The WannaCry program gets into your computer, either by clicking on the wrong thing or downloading the wrong thing and then encrypts your files and demands payment in bitcoin in order to regain access.

Shares in FTSE 250-listed Sophos were trading at 373.7p at 11.30 this morning, up by nearly 7 per cent, as the company also received an upgrade from analysts at Deutsche Bank. "We would therefore urge people to be cautious and wary when contacted by people who claim to be from the NHS in relation to the ransomware attack".

In a blog post published Sunday, Microsoft president Brad Smith criticized world leaders for stockpiling vulnerabilities to computer systems.

How often do you update your computer's operating software?

Of course, we'll see if any of this actually changes the behavior of users or the people who write code or government policy makers.

The full extent of the damage from the cyberattack felt in 150 countries was unclear and could worsen if more malicious variations of the online extortion scheme appear. No major Indian corporations reported disruptions to operations.

The indiscriminate attack began on Friday and struck banks, hospitals and government agencies, exploiting known vulnerabilities in older Microsoft computer operating systems.

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Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at a Helsinki-based cyber security company called F-Secure, told news agency AFP that the it was the biggest ransomware outbreak in history and estimated that 130,000 systems in more than 100 countries had been affected.

Patients across Kent's hospitals were able to use services as normal over the weekend, after all of the trusts behind them avoided a ransomware attack on the NHS.

With the amount of time spent on research against spyware attacks, it wouldn't be surprising to still witness something similar to the WannaCry ransomware due to the recent news about stolen NSA tools for public surveillance.

One of the best ways to do this is by ensuring that you regularly back up your key business files. While India has been spared so far, experts warn the country is at particular risk because of the large number of XP systems still in use, including in government offices.

"All of the police forces in Europe are working together to find out the identity of the hackers", Georges said.

An official from Cybersecurity Administration China (CAC) told local media on Monday that while the ransomware was still spreading and had affected industry and government computer systems, the spread was slowing. The city of Osaka said its home page went blank, although problems had not been detected otherwise. Though there were no reports of financial institutions in India being hit by WannaCry Ransomware, the authorities concerned are leaving anything to chance.

According to MeitY, it has activated a "preparedness and response mechanism" by instructing CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team) to gather "all the information of the reported ransomware".

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