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Following ransomware attack, Microsoft urges governments to 'wake up'

(Image credit: Image Credit: Datto)

Commenting on the latest ransomware attack that affected businesses all over the globe, Microsoft said it needs to serve as a 'wake-up call' to governments, blaming them for storing data on vulnerabilities.

The company said the US government kept information about Windows vulnerabilities which later got stolen and used to spread the WannaCry ransomware which has swept the world this weekend.

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call," Microsoft wrote in a report. (opens in new tab) "They need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world. We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits." 

“The WannaCrypt exploits used in the attack were drawn from the exploits stolen from the National Security Agency, or NSA, in the United States,” the company added. 

“That theft was publicly reported earlier this year. A month prior, on March 14, Microsoft had released a security update to patch this vulnerability and protect our customers. While this protected newer Windows systems and computers that had enabled Windows Update to apply this latest update, many computers remained unpatched globally. As a result, hospitals, businesses, governments, and computers at homes were affected.”

According to a BBC report (opens in new tab), a total of $38,000 (£29,400) has already been paid in ransom by victims. Currently, criminals are asking for $300 to restore access to an infected computer, but the BBC believes this price could go up in the next couple of days.

More than 200,000 computers have been affected all around the world, with reports coming from countries including the UK, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Japan.

Image Credit: Datto

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.