England's emergency units open 'as normal' again after cyber attack

Lincoln County Hospital

"We haven't seen anything like this since Conficker in 2008", Amit Nath, Head of Asia Pacific-Corporate Business at cyber security firm F-Secure Corporation, told IANS.

Downing Street acknowledged that five per cent of computer systems in the NHS in England are continuing to use Windows XP despite the Government's decision in 2015 not to renew a £5.5m contract with computer giant Microsoft to provide additional security support for the software.

Another email to the Herald said that the reader's laptop stopped working and a toll free number flashed on the screen.

At a time when hyper-targeted phishing attacks and sophisticated government-sponsored assaults represent the cutting edge of the battle over cyber security, the spread of the WannaCry ransomware looks like a blast from the past.

Microsoft released a patch to fix vulnerabilities in March. Currently, the hackers have recouped a total of $US59,061 ($79,522) in untraceable digital currency Bitcoin, an amount which continues to increase as more users cough up the $300 ransom to retrieve their files. Computers in 18 police units in Chittoor, Krishna, Guntur, Visakhatpatnam and Srikakulam districts were affected. "None of our ATMs has been impacted by ransomware attacks", said a top official of a public sector bank.

Here are four ways to protect your systems from this latest strain of ransomware.

While individuals and organizations can not anticipate and combat every ransomware or other cyber-security threat, there are steps to take that decrease the likelihood of becoming the victim of an attack.

Users who do not patch their systems and the Shadow Brokers were more directly responsible for the attack than NSA, they said. He said the software attacking a vulnerability had been incorporated with other software and delivered in a way to cause "infection, encryption and locking". Mac or Linux-based system have not been hit so far.

The minister called on businesses to immediately apply Windows security patches. Next time, we might not be so lucky.

"In addition to protective real-time monitoring of national NHS IT services and systems, which were unaffected by this issue, we are supporting NHS organisations by undertaking cyber security testing and providing bespoke advice and action points".

For businesses in this situation, a workaround is available.

Once the initial worm module is introduced to a system, according to Paladion Networks, it scans hosts on the local area network or LAN, while simultaneously scanning the Internet by generating random internet protocol (IP) addresses.

This left GP practices unable to access any patient data - prompting pleas for patients to attend surgery only if their need is urgent. For users on Windows 7/8/10, simply use the search function to navigate to "Windows Features".

The FBI has advised a multi-pronged approach to battling hackers including implementing software restriction policies, backing up data regularly, patching operating systems and restricting access to certain key files or directories. Last year, 75% of crypto ransomware-malware that encrypts files on the target machine to force its owner to pay a ransom in exchange for their decryption-originated from the Russian-speaking hacker underworld.

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