Since Friday, up to 150 countries have come under a cyber-attack and now Microsoft says governments should be prepared for more.
Microsoft Warns Of Potentially More Ransomware Cyber Attacks
Microsoft has said the recent cyber-attacks reveal vulnerabilities caused by the way governments are storing security vulnerabilities and this has resulted in widespread damage.
The latest ransomware exploits a loophole in Microsoft Windows that was initially reported by US intelligence.
There are reports that as the new week starts, there is a possibility of further virus attacks.
So far, firms are having experts working round the clock to prevent new attacks. The weekend virus invaded users’ computers and demanded $300b in payment to restore access to files.
Although the spread of the virus slowed down, experts say the break is only for a while. More than 200,000 computers across the world have been infected with the ransomware.
South Korea has given no further details other than that only nine cases of the virus were reported.
In Australia, it is reported that three small to medium sized business were affected.
In a statement on Sunday, Brad Smith, Microsoft president and chief legal officer was critical of how governments store information about security vulnerabilities.
He said, “We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA become available on WikiLeaks and now this vulnerability accessed from NSA has affected users all over the world.”
He added, “Governments should look at this attack as a wakeup call.”
The technology giant said it had made available a Windows security update two months ago to deal with the issue brought up by this recent attack but many users had not run the update.
Mr. Smith added, “As cybercriminals use increasingly sophisticated methods, the only way for consumers to protect themselves against threats is to update their system.”
Speaking to the BBC, Europol chief said the weekend ransomware was built in such a way that an infection on one computer would rapidly spread across the network.
He added, “This is why we’re seeing these numbers increasing all the time.”
He said that attackers had already release a new version of the ransomware.
Beck Pinkard from UK based cyber security company Digital Shadows said it would be easy for attackers and others who copy them to change the code of the virus, making it difficult to prevent a reoccurrence.
In England, Nation Health Service trusts including hospitals and pharmacies were affected. Other institutions that were targeted include Deutsche Bahn rail network in Germany, Telefonica, a telecommunication company in Spain, Russia’s Interior Ministry, US logistics company Fedex and French auto manufacturer, Renault.