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You've heard the phrase "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions", right?

"WannaCry", as the ransomware is known, uses a Windows vulnerability originally identified by the NSA, according to security experts.

India is on high alert, monitoring critical networks across sectors like banking, telecom, power and aviation to ensure that systems are protected against the attack that has claimed victims in more than 150 countries over the weekend.

If you are a victim of the latest ransomware attack and $300 is no big deal for you (or your data is more valuable than $300), should you pay the ransom to regain control of your computer? It locks down all the files on an infected computer. Typically the price increases over time until the end of a countdown, when the files are destroyed.

The crippling attack has wreaked havoc on some hospitals, transport systems, phone companies and assembly lines around the world, and according to experts, is still on a war path.

But the sheer number of infections across the globe and the fact the attackers rely on anonymous Bitcoin payments to receive ransoms means they're going to be hard to track down.

Why do hackers do this?

You can call them at 928.443.8770 for more information. But he also said the incident was a "wake-up call" for governments.

How do I protect my machine?

You're out of luck.

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While companies in the Americas were not yet open for business, aftershocks from the "Wannacry" virus elsewhere have so far been mild. Thanks to a 22-year-old researcher, a simple kill-switch was found and it halted the malware from infecting other machines, limiting its global spread.

There is now no way to fix a computer that's infected by WannaCry. First, it exacerbates the situation and there is no deterrent for them criminals to stop if they are making money.

Microsoft has had a whirlwind last few days. However, most of the world's censure is directed at the NSA. "This is an emerging pattern in 2017 ... now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world".

Does WannaCry affect my Mac, iPhone or Android?

Microsoft added that it had released a security update in March that could fight the ransomware, and that the affected computers had not been updated. But there was no fix initially for Windows XP, an operating system which many customers continue to use notwithstanding its end-of-life status.

This isn't the first time USA spy agencies have been accused of knowing about vulnerabilities and keeping them secret. Users of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Vista can protect themselves by updating the software by running Windows Update on their computer. WannaCry appears to travel across corporate networks, spreading quickly through file-sharing systems.

But Smith also pointed the finger directly at the feds for allowing this to happen, because the Windows vulnerability the hackers used was first discovered - and kept by - the NSA.

"You can point a lot of fingers, but I think given that this was not a zero-day vulnerability (for which no patch is available), the people hacked are to blame", said Robert Cattanach, a partner at the global law firm Dorsey & Whitney and an expert on cybersecurity and data breaches.


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