Cyberattack havoc could grow as work week begins

Allan Goodman
May 18, 2017

"I'm anxious about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn on their machines on Monday", he said.

However, the authors of the "WannaCry" ransomware attack told their victims the amount they must pay would double if they did not comply within three days of the original infection - by Monday, in most cases. Patched computers carry a much lower risk of being infected by malware or ransomware than those without an update.

"This means that as a new working week begins it is likely, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, that further cases of ransomware may come to light, possibly at a significant scale", officials warned.

Microsoft says government hoarding of hacking tools is partly to blame for the cyberattacks that crippled computer systems around the world on Friday.

It is unknown how the attack has affected GP surgeries, which are due to open as usual on Monday.

Conficker was more of a pest and didn't do major damage.

There are several factors in play.

Darien Huss, a 28-year-old research engineer who helped stop the malware's spread, said he was "still anxious for what's to come in the next few days, because it really would not be so hard for the actors behind this to re-release their code without a kill switch or with a better kill switch".

"It was essentially an indiscriminate attack across the world", Europol director Rob Wainwright said.

He added that the agency is still analyzing the virus and has yet to identify who is responsible for the attack.

At least one strain of the ransomware has proven especially vicious.

MalwareTech said in a in a blog post Saturday that he had returned from lunch with a friend on Friday and learned that networks across Britain's health system had been hit by ransomware, tipping him off that "this was something big".

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"We could potentially see copycats mimic the delivery or exploit method they used", he said.

A spokesperson says a warning was sent out by Manitoba eHealth, noting there are a number of precautions in place in the WRHA systems but that staff must remain observant to ensure they remain secure.

"When any technique is shown to be effective, there are nearly always copycats", said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer of McAfee, a security company in Santa Clara, California.

Grafi said his firm has been contacted by companies that are scrambling to avoid potential pitfalls.

The recent global cyber attack has affected more than 200,000 people - so should you be anxious about your own online security?

Germany's rail operator Deutsche Bahn said its station display panels were affected. It said it believed the difficulties are linked to the global cyberattack but they haven't so far harmed its business operations. The WannaCry virus, the name of the ransomware used for the cyber attack, does not affect other systems, such as Apple.

USE ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE Using antivirus software will at least protect you from the most basic, well-known viruses by scanning your system against the known fingerprints of these pests.

Some ransomware does also sometimes targets backup files, though.

It is also understood that the attack even affected American companies. A Microsoft spokeswoman said that the company was aware of the reports and was looking into the situation. Here, you'll find information on how to apply a security patch. This attack has impacted many large services and organizations, including hospitals in England, a telecom and natural gas company in Spain, and FedEx.

"Hackers will realise that hospitals can be hacked relatively easily, and of course that hospitals have very sensitive data and we need that to manage our patients and it's time-critical data". "We will continue to work with affected (organizations) to confirm this", the agency said.

"If you have a hospital appointment you should still attend unless you are contacted and told not to".

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