WannaCrypt (also known as Wanna, Wannacry, or Wcry) uses NSA-derived exploits and has hit tens of thousands of systems worldwide.
"Working through our Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) and Digital Crimes Unit, we'll also share what we learn with law enforcement agencies, governments, and other customers around the world", the software firm said.
WannaCry was discovered by the NSA and made public by hackers in April. That's why it's called ransomware. "While this protected newer Windows systems and computers that had enabled Windows Update to apply this latest update, many computers remained unpatched globally", Smith wrote. The first thing to do to protect yourself against this vicious type of ransomware is to install the security patches Microsoft issued to handle the vulnerability.
Once compromised, those vulnerable computers provided WannaCry's perpetrators with a gateway into an unknown number of Windows systems the world over as the virus wormed its way from machine to machine by exploiting a Microsoft vulnerability affecting multiple operating systems. While major computer virus attacks have happened in the past, a lot of them have been directed towards particular companies or institutions and have not been on such a wide scale (Target stores, Yahoo mail, etc). "We are expecting it and have informed the banks since most of our ATMs run on the windows operating system which is the operating system effected by WannaCry", Subhamangala added.
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Tanvir Hasan Zoha, an adviser with the Crime Research and Analysis Foundation, said: "So far, 30 computers have been reportedly attacked by ransomware, but these have been resolved (sic)".
While WannaCry rampaged through more than 100 countries over the weekend, security researchers identified a "kill switch" within the ransomware that slowed the expansion. But computers and networks that didn't update their systems are still at risk.
But more than 7 percent of the world's computers are powered by Windows XP, which Microsoft didn't offer a fix for until last week, after the attack began to spread.
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.