Pirated Windows is a risky bet, says security company

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cybersecurity company F-Secure, said ransomware attacks like WannaCry are "not going to be the norm".

Currently, an estimated 200,000 victims in 150 different countries are reported to have been hit by the cyberattack.

First, for those who don't know WannaCry is a ransomware that affects the entire network, and will encrypt all files in a computer. The attacker appropriated a cyberweapon developed by the NSA called EternalBlue and set it loose on the world.

Europol said Saturday that the attack was of an "unprecedented level and requires global investigation".

Computer users worldwide - and everyone else who depends on them - should assume that the next big "ransomware" attack has already been launched, and just hasn't manifested itself yet, Ori Eisen, who founded the Trusona cybersecurity firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, told The Associated Press. The exploit was leaked last month as part of a trove of NSA spy tools.

This one worked because of a "perfect storm" of conditions, including a known and highly risky security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and malware created to spread quickly once inside university, business and government networks. But without the ability to receive security-focused software updates, those systems are left at risk.

Reports have it that sixteen National Health Service (NHS) organizations in the United Kingdom have been reportedly hit with some of the hospitals cancelling outpatient appointments.

Its ransom demands start at 300 dollars and increase after two hours to 400, 500 and then 600 dollars, said Kurt Baumgartner, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. Russian Interior Ministry, which runs the national police, said the problem had been "localized" with no information compromised.

Fedex said Friday it was "experiencing interference with some of our windows-based systems caused by malware". The attacks highlight the challenges that organizations face with consistently applying security safeguards on a large scale.

Darien Huss, a 28-year-old research engineer who helped stop the malware's spread, said he was "still anxious for what's to come in the next few days, because it really would not be so hard for the actors behind this to re-release their code without a kill switch or with a better kill switch".

In the blog post, the group said it was setting up a monthly data dump and that it could offer tools to break into web browsers, network routers, phone handsets, plus newer exploits for Windows 10 and data stolen from central banks.

Major global companies said they came under attack as well.

What can businesses and individuals do to protect themselves from ransomware? Employees have been communicated to be aware of unsolicited emails and were asked to stay away from work at a few places where the security systems update was in progress. Here's how to turn automatic updates on.

While earlier this week the company's president and chief legal officer Brad Smith had reportedly confirmed that the attack had used elements stolen from the NSA, the USA government has not given any direct comments in the matter till date.

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