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Questions are swirling over who is responsible for the security flaws exploited by hackers in the world's biggest ransomware attack to date, which crippled thousands of businesses and public organizations around the world. Many were concerned that when the Monday workday began in Europe and the East Coast, that the spread would worsen. Researchers recorded infections in tens of thousands of machines, and Europol estimated Sunday that the attack had spread to about 150 countries.

The attack blocks computers and puts up images on victims' screens demanding payment of $300 (Dh1,100) in the virtual currency Bitcoin, saying: "Ooops, your files have been encrypted!"

In the wake of the onslaught by ransomware WannaCry across the globe, the Reserve Bank of India has denied that it has asked banks in the country to shut down ATMs despite multiple conflicting reports on the same.

In an interview with Information Management, Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins and technical director of the JHU Information Security Institute, said that "having backups of your data is the best response to the ransomware threat, because if you have data backed up, there is no need to pay someone ransom in the first place-as long as your backups are current".

A hacker group - known as Shadow Brokers - obtained an arsenal of cyber warfare tools in April from the NSA, of which the USA agency called "Eternal Blue". Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability in March.

Don't grumble when your system administrator at work takes the network down periodically to update systems, which usually includes installing new and often critical software patches.

Now the "kill switch" discovered by MalwareTech appears to be holding, although it seems reasonable to assume that variants of the virus without the kill switch will begin circulating soon, and indeed Danish security firm Heimdal Security believes they already are.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed banks to operate their ATM networks only after machines receive a Windows update to protect them from a malware impacting systems across the world. And you never, ever, ever want to pay the price to get your files. "It stops the damage being caused", Hickey told CNNTech.

"We need to make it as easy as we can for people to patch their systems, and then customers have to apply those patches", Smith says.

Though the worm is primarily affecting business, individuals with PCs running Windows should still take a few precautions.

As per a statement issued by MHA, "MeitY has initiated contact with relevant stakeholders in public and private sector to "patch" their systems as prescribed in the advisory issued by CERT-IN". Sites like Carbonite offer you fair-priced options for keeping your data safe. Microsoft also found itself giving tech support to one more unusual group: thieves, people who used pirated, illegal copies of Windows.

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. Call it blackmail, extortion or anything you like, but there's no way you can get back your data without paying the ransom. Finally, always verify the authenticity of files and websites before downloading and opening any files or email attachments.


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