Ransomware attack: Banks, airports, telecom services on high alert in India

Ransomware attack: Banks, airports, telecom services on high alert in India

Researchers with security software maker Avast said they had observed 57,000 infections in 99 countries with Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan the top targets.

Global cyber chaos was spreading Monday as companies booted up computers at work following the weekend's worldwide "ransomware" cyberattack. "That's why we're providing this free 90-day offer", said Simon Townsend, EMEA Chief Technologist of Ivanti. Ransomware often is downloaded through phishing emails. Two big telecoms companies, Telefónica of Spain and Megafon of Russian Federation, were also hit, as was Japanese carmaker Nissan in the United Kingdom. Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina both said they were also targeted.

Microsoft distributed the patch two months ago, which could have forestalled much of the attack, but in many organizations it was likely lost among the blizzard of updates and patches that large corporations and governments strain to manage. However, officials and security firms said the spread was starting to slow.

He warned of the danger of exploits developed by governments - this time the NSA in America - falling into the hands of hackers and causing widespread damage as is the case with the current attack which has crippled more than 200,000 computers around the world.

USA authorities and security agencies around the world have also confirmed that the attack has hit services in their countries.

The Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue as part of a trove of hacking tools that they said belonged to the USA spy agency.

NHS Digital, which oversees United Kingdom hospital cybersecurity, said it sent alerts about the problem - and a patch to fix it - to health service staff and IT professionals last month. It issued a patch on March 14 to protect them from Eternal Blue.

In India, the government said it had only received a few reports of attacks on systems and urged those hit not to pay attackers any ransom. Deutsche Bahn said it deployed extra staff to busy stations to provide customer information, and recommended that passengers check its website or app for information on their connections. Just such a stockpiled flaw was behind the rapaciousness and rapidity with which the WannaCry ransomware spread.

Authorities in Britain have been braced for possible cyberattacks in the run-up to the vote, as happened during last year's U.S. election and on the eve of this month's presidential vote in France. The hackers then demand $300 in order to release control of the files. "This guidance was also reissued on Friday following the emergence of this issue".

"The number of infected computers has not increased as expected, which is a success", European law enforcement agency Europol said Monday.

In his first public comments since the attack on Friday, Mr Hunt told Sky News: "I have this morning been briefed by GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre, and according to our latest intelligence, we have not seen a second wave of attacks and the level of criminal activity is at the lower end of the range that we had anticipated, and so I think that is encouraging".

"Seeing a large telco like Telefonica get hit is going to get everybody anxious".

"Whenever there is a new patch, there is a risk in applying the patch and a risk in not applying the patch", Grobman said.

It says universities and educational institutions were among the hardest hit, numbering 4,341, or about 15 percent of internet protocol addresses attacked. "They will send you an email, claiming to be from a coworker or business associate or friend - but the email is not really from that person, and the attachment is malicious".