Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons
CAIRO – 13 May 2017: Egypt was one of the top 20 worst affected countries by a massive ransomware cyber-attack, which has spread across the world, Mirror UK reported Friday.
More than 45,000 attacks have been recorded in 74 countries, according to researchers at Kaspersky Lab, a Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider.
The Egyptian cabinet issued a statement Saturday, saying “it is too early to estimate the malware’s effect; however, the type of attacks and the malwares used are extremely dangerous.”
The cabinet also advised entities and individuals to be careful when they check their emails and warned them not to open any messages from unknown sources, as well as using original updated softwares.
The malware, which encrypts all data by exploiting vulnerability in Microsoft software, demands users to pay $300 worth of cryptocurrency Bitcoin as a condition to retrieve their files. In three days, the price would be doubled; and in seven days, the files would be gone forever, according to the message triggered by the malware.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK revealed that 16 NHS organizations were hit by the malware, according to an official statement.
Spain’s Computer Emergency Response Team CCN-CERT also published an alert, declaring that several organizations have been affected, and it recommended users to install security updates.
Add photo here: Message triggered by the malware on NHS computers
The malware attack is suspected to be linked to a theft of cyber weapons from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) last year.
According to a 2016 study by Trend Micro, a multinational security software company, “Egypt accounts for 18 percent of all ransomware threats in North Africa.”
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