Global cyberattack: A super-simple explanation of what happened

Huge cyberattack forces Microsoft to offer free tech fix

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham). An exterior view shows the main entrance of St Bartholomew's Hospital, in London, one of the hospitals whose computer systems were affected by a cyberattack, Friday, May 12, 2017. A large cyberattack crippled computer systems at hospitals across England on Friday, with appointments canceled, phone lines down and patients turned away.

If you're on a work computer, it can spread through the entire network.

The worldwide attack was so unprecedented that Microsoft quickly changed its policy and announced that it will make security fixes available for free for older Windows systems, which are still used by millions of individuals and smaller businesses. He said the software attacking a vulnerability had been incorporated with other software and delivered in a way to cause "infection, encryption and locking". Experts believe that we may not even know the extent of how hard the attack hit Asia, and we won't know until Monday.

"The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex global investigation to identify the culprits", Europol's European Cybercrime Center says. Brad Smith criticized USA intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency, for "stockpiling" software code that can be used by hackers.

On top of that, critics say, the government didn't notify companies like Microsoft about the vulnerabilities quickly enough.

Although those behind the attack remain unknown, Bitcoin wallets are publicly visible.

Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack in upward of 70 countries, although both said the attack has hit Russian Federation hardest.

In Indonesia, two hospitals were affected by the attack.

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Victims were asked for payment of $300 in Bitcoin. Russia's health ministry said its attacks were "effectively repelled". But not everyone is prompt or has the access to update their systems, leading to untold vulnerable computers around the world.

Microsoft said it had taken the "highly unusual step" of releasing a patch for computers running older operating systems including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.

French carmaker Renault's assembly plant in Slovenia halted production after it was targeted. Companies, including Hitachi and Nissan Motor Co., reported problems but said they had not seriously affected their operations. The British Home Secretary said most of the NHS systems were back to normal by midday Saturday. Do not click links or attachments from an email you're not expecting.

U.S.- Tom Bossert, a homeland security adviser to President Donald Trump, said the recent global cyber attack is something that "for right now, we've got under control" in the United States. Although Microsoft released fixes in March, the attackers counted on many organizations not getting around to applying those fixes.

The effects were felt across the globe, with Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica, FedEx Corp.in the US and French carmaker Renault all reporting disruptions.

In Spain, major firms including Telefonica were hit, with employees told to shut down workstations immediately through megaphone announcements.

He also poured fuel on a long-running debate over how government intelligence services should balance their desire to keep software flaws secret - in order to conduct espionage and cyber warfare - against sharing those flaws with technology companies to better secure the internet. Deutsche Bahn said it deployed extra staff to busy stations to help customers, and recommended that they check its website or app for information on their connections.

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