Conditions behind cyberattack may be hard to mimic

But the NHS says that most of its systems are now still receiving patches and security updates from Microsoft. The whole containment process happened quite by accident, security experts said.

The cyberextortion attack hitting dozens of countries spread quickly and widely thanks to an unusual confluence of factors: a known and highly risky security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and a software design that allowed the malware to spread quickly once inside university, business and government networks.

A massive cyberattack brought computers to a halt on Friday and Saturday, the malware affecting over one lakh computers and systems in almost 150 nations worldwide, ranging from the UK National Health Service to a French carmaker with an alliance plant in Chennai, the German railways, the Andhra Pradesh police and entire Russian systems. Hackers are threatening the users that if they do not pay within the set deadline they will delete all the files on the users' systems, however, governments are asking the citizens not to pay the ransom, as it would encourage the hackers to go for more such attacks. In Russia, where a wide array of systems came under attack, officials said services had been restored or the virus contained. Radio Slovenia said Saturday the Revoz factory in the southeastern town of Novo Mesto stopped working Friday evening to stop the malware from spreading - and was working with the central office in France to resolve the problem. He said the situation is now under control.

However, security researchers say firms that fail to keep their software up-to-date are also responsible for the ransomware outbreak. But how much do individuals need to worry about their personal computers being targeted?

Beaumont examined a sample of the ransomware used to target NHS and confirmed it was the same used to target Telefónica.

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Experts say the spread of the virus had been stymied by a security researcher in the United Kingdom hackers have issued new versions of the virus that cyber security organizations are actively trying to counter and stamp out. Although it won't do any good for machines that have already been hit.

Once infected, impacted systems' files are encrypted, and a decryptor is run with a message demanding $300 worth of Bitcoins per infected machine.

He said it's likely the ransomware will spread to US firms too. It locks down all the files on an infected computer.

"It has a "hunter" module, which seeks out PCs on internal networks", Beaumont said.

In a blog post, the US tech giant recalled that it had published an update in March to address the weakness exploited in Friday's attacks, a security flaw exposed in documents leaked from the US National Security Agency. Smith plays a key role in representing the company externally and in leading the company's work on a number of critical issues including privacy, security, accessibility, environmental sustainability and digital inclusion, among others. When CNNTech first reported the Microsoft vulnerabilities leaked in April, Hickey said they were the "most damaging" he'd seen in several years, and warned that businesses would be most at risk. Those who are running our free antivirus and are running Windows Update are protected. Here's how to turn automatic updates on. It's known organisations like the NSA develop tools to exploit computer systems in order to spy on people, including potential terrorists and their plots, of course.

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