New global cyber attack – don’t open unknown email

South Africans have been warned not to open any unknown emails and to urgently update their security software following  the spread o Friday of a global cyber ransom attack .

This  global cyber-attack has affected more than 200 000 victims in 150 countries and regions,  according to Europol chief, Rob Wainwright. 

The virus took control of users’ files, demanding payments. Russia and Britain were among the worst hit countries.

Hackers reportedly use a tool known as Eternal Blue and a malicious software called WannaCry to lock users’ computers and to demand a payment for the decryption. 

The global cyber-attack has so far swept across more than 100 countries including the US, Britain, Germany and China.  Cyber security experts said it could be the biggest cyber-attack of its kind ever.

“Many of those victims were businesses, including large corporations. The global reach is unprecedented,” Wainwright said in an interview with Britain’s ITV yesterday.

Wainwright was concerned  the numbers of those affected would continue to rise when people returned to work today. “We’re in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up,” he said, adding the current attack was unprecedented.

Wainwright told ITV  the world faced an escalating threat, and there was concern about the level of potential attacks today.

Wainwright warned the healthcare sector in many countries was particularly vulnerable, but that all organisations should ensure they prioritise cyber security and update their systems.

Dozens of Russian public institutions including the Bank of Russia said on Saturday that they have thwarted a massive cyber-attack and prevented vital data loss.

The central bank’s security and information protection division, responsible for monitoring computer attacks in the credit and financial sphere, has registered massive spread of malicious programs, but no instances of compromise were detected, said the Bank of Russia, quoted by Sputnik, a major media outlet in Russia

The Russian Interior Ministry and Health Ministry also said earlier in the day that they  repelled such attacks as the virus was promptly detected and localised, according to Russian news agencies.

Britain’s official emergency committee, known as Cobra, met in London on Saturday afternoon to discuss the cyber-attack that has caused widespread disruption to the country’s National Health Service (NHS).

Around 45 NHS organisations in England and Scotland, including hospitals, family doctor surgeries, and health services, were hit in the cyber-attack which prevented doctors, nurses and staff from accessing vital patient information.

However, Wainwright said Europol was working on the basis that the cyber-attack was carried out by criminals rather than terrorists, but noted that ‘remarkably few’ payments had been made so far.

“Most people are not paying this, so there is not a lot of money being made  by this criminal organisations so far,” he said.  

Source SANews – Xinhua/Sputnik

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