Microsoft Wants Ransomware Attack to Be 'Wake-Up Call'

Company calls for digital Geneva Convention
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2017 5:35 AM CDT
Microsoft Wants Ransomware Attack to Be 'Wake-Up Call'
European Union police say they are still trying to track down the perpetrators.   (AP Photo/Paul White)

The massive ransomware attack still reverberating around the world is the kind of thing that is going to keep happening unless rules like those governing conventional warfare are brought in for cyberspace, Microsoft says. Microsoft president Brad Smith warned in a blog post Sunday that the "stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments" has once again caused enormous damage, USA Today reports. Smith says the "WannaCrypt" attack, also known as "WannaCry," was created with data stolen from the NSA, which had used a vulnerability it found to create cyberweapons. The equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the "US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen," Smith said.

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call," Smith wrote, repeating the company's call for a digital Geneva Convention. Microsoft issued a patch after the theft was discovered in March, but it was not issued to people and organizations using older versions of its system. More than 200,000 computers in 150 countries have been affected and the AP reports that there were thousands more cases early Monday as people got back to work after the weekend and booted up infected computers. The ransomware is demanding $300 to unlock user's files. The BBC says its analysis of accounts linked to the attack found that around $38,000 had been paid by early Monday. (More Microsoft stories.)

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