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Major Ransomware Attack Hits Thousands Of Systems Worldwide

The attack holds a user's files hostage using an exploit that might've come from a leak at the NSA. Luckily, Microsoft has already put out a patch.
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Major Ransomware Attack Hits Thousands Of Systems Worldwide

A wave of serious ransomware attacks is spreading around the world — and the virus might have sprung from a leak in the U.S. government.

The virus, known as WanaCrypt0r, Wanacry or WCry, encrypts an infected computer's files and demands a ransom of $300 to decrypt them again. Security company Avast says it has detected over 75,000 instances of the worm in 99 countries so far. 

WCry has been particularly devastating to the U.K.'s National Health Service. It's prevented some doctors and hospitals from accessing patient records, delaying and disrupting patient care.

The attacks seem to be derived from a Windows exploit known as EternalBlue. The bug was disclosed to the public in April, when a group called the Shadow Brokers released a bunch of hacks supposedly used by the National Security Agency.

Microsoft issued a patch for the exploit around the time it was made public. If you haven't updated your Windows security in a while, definitely look up the MS17-010 security bulletin to grab the patch.