Ransomware - How to Prevent Cyber-Attacks

However, the Financial Times report points out that Windows XP users are still expected to pay extra if they want security and it now stands at $1,000 per device. "Unfortunately, most people don't have them", Abrams says.

So far, Apple Mac computers are not being targeted by this cruel ransomware attack. "We are in the second wave", said Matthieu Suiche of Comae Technologies.

Officials urged companies and organizations to update their Microsoft operating systems immediately to ensure networks aren't still vulnerable to more powerful variants of the malware known as WannaCry or WannaCrypt.

The attack that began Friday is believed to be the biggest online extortion attack ever recorded, with victims including Britain's hospital network and Germany's national railway.

The WannaCry program encrypts your files and demands payment in bitcoin in order to regain access.

A hacking group called Shadow Brokers released the malware in April claiming to have discovered the flaw from the NSA, according to Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity provider. Moreover, protective measures were not adequately taken by the NSA to protect their own software, because if they were, hackers responsible for the attack would not have been able to steal it.

"The first thing to do to protect all the data is to frequently back up all the data on the computer system depending how much work you do".

Security experts said the attack appeared to be caused by a self-replicating piece of software that enters companies and organizations when employees click on email attachments, then spreads quickly internally from computer to computer when employees share documents and other files.

Experts advise users not to pay, as it would only encourage the attackers. However, a hacker could rewrite the code to omit the kill switch and start trying to infect new machines with a new version of it.

The researcher tweeted that he initially didn't know that his actions would stop the malware.

"It's quite an easy change to make, to bypass the way we stopped it", MalwareTech, who uses an alias, told the Associated Press.

Brad Smith criticized USA intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency, for "stockpiling" software code that can be used by hackers. Several cyber security firms said WannaCry exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft and that Microsoft patched this in March.

Many companies are of course reluctant to deploy patches without extensive testing, something which Microsoft understood, but Smith noted that Microsoft used "robust testing and analytics to enable rapid updates into IT infrastructure".

So, in case you needed another reminder, update your software often.

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