WASHINGTON, May 13, 2017 — The US technology giant Microsoft said it has identified and patched its operating systems against malicious software called WannaCrypt that is affecting computer networks in as many as 74 nations.
“Today, our engineers added detection and protection against new malicious software known as Ransom: Win32.WannaCrypt,” Microsoft said in a statement.
Earlier on Friday, the UK National Health Service (NHS) reported that many of the computer systems in its hospitals and other medical centers were impacted by the malware, also known as WannaCry and Wanna Decryptor.
The apparent cyberattack quickly spread to other nations.
Kaspersky Lab said it had detected more than 45,000 attacks of the WannaCrypt software in 74 countries, mostly in Russia.
US-based delivery giant FedEx and Spain’s telecommunications company Telefonica reported their systems were affected as well.
The software locks a computer and prompts the user to pay a US$300 “ransom” in the digital currency Bitcoin to decrypt their files.
WannaCrypt was included among purported US National Security Agency (NSA) hacking tools leaked in April by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers.
Microsoft noted that it first patched the vulnerability in a security update in March and Windows users who updated their computers and used the company’s free antivirus program were protected from the malware.
Many of the NHS computers affected by the ransomware on Friday were not updated, according to media reports. (Sputnik)