Dutch police call on citizens to report cyberattacks following global ransomware attack

Carla Harmon
May 18, 2017

Experts say the attackers have made just over $51,000.

Europol said few banks in Europe had been affected, having learned through the "painful experience of being the number one target of cyber crime" the value of having the latest cyber security in place. If past ransomware attacks are any guide, chances are pretty high that the data is gone forever.

Last Friday's outbreak of the WannaCry ransomware infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, including thousands at United Kingdom hospitals.

Thousands of users on Friday received the message "Ooops, your important files are encrypted" along with messages from the hackers who encrypt computer files so they can't be accessed and threaten to delete them unless a ransom of up to $300 or more in Bitcoins is paid.

Mr Hunt has come under fire for failing to appear in public since the attack, which hit 47 trusts in England and 13 Scottish health boards.

Several cyber security firms said WannaCry exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft and that Microsoft patched this in March.

Specialists are concerned that computer systems that have not had security patches applied could be infected by the ransomware called WannaCry.

Dozens of public and private sector organisations in 150 countries across the world had their computers hit last week in a "ransomware" attack. This new ransomware takes advantage of a tool called EternalBlue what was included in the release.

The attacks exploit vulnerabilities in old Windows operating systems.

In fact, Microsoft has never issued security updates for software as long retired from support as Windows XP, which fell off the list more than three years ago.

Exploits in the hands of governments have repeatedly leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage, wrote Smith, who compared the leaks of Central Intelligence Agency and NSA vulnerabilities to the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. "And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today - nation-state action and organized criminal action.", Microsoft president Brad Smith said in the statement.

The NSA exploit codes were leaked earlier this year by the Shadow Brokers hacking group which had previously been offering the U.S. government cyber weapons in exchange for millions of dollars in Bitcoin.

The malware is a type of ransomware that seems to have spread via a computer virus known as a worm, meaning that it can move throughout a network without human interaction.

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