The WannaCry ransomware takes advantage of a vulnerability in out-of-date Windows machines to encrypt most of their data, and demands $300 in Bitcoin for decryption.
This vicious piece of code is a type of a Trojan encryptor created to extort money from users by holding their data to ransom.
In a posting on cybercrime on the bureau's website, FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James Trainor said agreeing to pay only serves to perpetuate the activity. In addition, there is no guarantee that user will get access ever after the payment.
"We have reached a turning point where it is not sustainable for governments to think they can retain vulnerabilities for very long", said Ari Schwartz, who oversaw technology security issues at the National Security Council during the Obama administration. I certainly don't sit up at night worrying about a cyber-attack on the power grid or the manipulation of the stock market by cyber criminals.
As the Times reported after the first wave of attacks, WannaCry appears to be "the first time a cyberweapon developed by the NSA., funded by American taxpayers and stolen by an adversary had been unleashed by cybercriminals against patients, hospitals, businesses, governments and ordinary citizens".
"We've learned that, in the private sector, there tends to be concern that news of a cyberattack can be damaging to a brand", Plank said.
Security experts at Symantec, which in the past has accurately identified attacks mounted by the United States, Israel and North Korea, found early versions of the ransomware, called WannaCry, that used tools that were also deployed against Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Bangladesh central bank a year ago and Polish banks in February. So far this year, 11 Utah victims have been extorted of $15,000. "Following this, Microsoft had sent patches in its update in March itself to counter this particular form of threats", Udhav told TNM.
"The goal of our intelligence community is to have a stockpile of tools to attack high-value targets", he said.
The Economic Times reported that banks have started restricting employees' access to much of the Internet as they scramble to protect themselves from the attack. The reason ransomware is so prevalent is because criminals are still making millions from it.
Days after the virus first exploded on Friday, Microsoft is pointing the finger squarely at the National Security Agency, for its role in enabling the virus.
Mulholland said she didn't give the scammers time to mention WannaCry, but she suspected they were attempting to exploit the publicity around the ransomware attack.
The potency of that malware, powerful enough to risk lives while at least temporarily shuttering hospitals or other services, was laid bare in a blog post written by Microsoft's Brad Smith.
Still, it was Microsoft that wrote the exploitable software to begin with.
Smith said that Friday's attack demonstrated how cyber security was becoming a shared responsibility between customer and supplier.
Smith also noted that a fundamental rethinking of tactics in addressing cybersecurity issues is in order.
"There are some rules and some policy that can be introduced where everybody knows how the government is going to handle these certain situations", said Greg Martin, CEO of San Francisco cybersecurity firm JASK and a former cybersecurity adviser to the FBI, Secret Service and NASA.
"Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage". "When something happens, the finger gets pointed at the attacker, not at Microsoft", Ad Age quoted Pike as saying. "These kinds of threats are going to continue, and we need to address the question: How did we get here, and where are we going?"
"The tide is turning toward the necessity of having this conversation", he said.