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White House: Cyberattack has not affected US government
16 May 2017, 09:35 | Virginia Benson
Tom Bossert Homeland Security Advisor to President Trump announces that Trump today signed an executive order to bolster the government's
President Donald Trump's homeland security adviser says that so far, no USA federal systems have been affected by a global cyberattack that has now affected an estimated 300,000 machines in 150 countries.
While federal computer systems remained safe, Bossert made clear that the threat of the ransomware attack was being tracked and managed by the Department of Homeland Security on an ongoing basis.
The group met to assess the rapidly expanding ransomware attack, which locks up a computer network's files until a ransom is paid.
In total, European authorities said the ransomware assault has crippled more than 200,000 victims in those 150 countries.
"I am anxious about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn on their machines on Monday morning". We continue monitoring the situation in real time, said Bossert, after asserting that his country was working to determine who has been the originator of the cyber-attack.
In a press conference, the official said that a small number of USA companies were victims of the attack, including the courier delivery service company FedEx.
The virus hit computers running older versions of Microsoft Corp software that had not been recently updated.
"The next thing is to make sure you're backing up your files every day, and that means on a hard drive that is not connected to the internet", Tanz added. It has disrupted telecommunications, hospitals, and thirty-eight of the U.K.'s national healthcare service, according to the official, resulting in inaccessible computers and telephone service.
Several Cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries and "appropriate staff" attended the Saturday meeting, the official told POLITICO.
Just one person in an organization who clicked on an infected attachment or bad link, would lead to all computers in a network becoming infected, said Vikram Thakur, technical director of Symantec Security Response. The malware that helps spread the attack is repurposed from apparent National Security Agency hacking tools that were leaked online earlier this year.
Quincy Larson, a software engineer told ABC News that it is critical to install updates to your operating system as they become available. Christian Karam, a Singapore-based security researcher said, "Expect to hear a lot more about this tomorrow morning when users are back in their offices and might fall for phishing emails". A reason you download updates is not just for new features but for security.
The ransomware campaign - which has gone through at least two phases as researchers worked to halt its advance - mostly affected Europe and Asia.
While a handful of Australian systems have been affected, those in Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine and India are the most affected.
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