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Macra issues alert on ransomware

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The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has issued an alert asking individuals and companies to safeguard their systems against the latest cyber-attack that has affected thousands of computers worldwide.

Several international media outlets have reported the attack which is feared to have spread to over 150 countries.

The malware infects computers with viruses known as “ransomware,” which encrypt data and demand payments for it to be unlocked.

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But in a statement, Macra said payment is not guarantee for access to the infected files and has, therefore, discouraged users and organisations from paying the ransom demanded if attacked.

The visus christened Wanna Cry Ransomware, is infecting Windows based computers that have outdated and unpatched software, specifically those with Microsoft Server Message Block 1.0 vulnerability.

“The path for this vulnerability was released by Microsoft earlier this year and users of Microsoft computers can secure their computers by installing the security path,” Macra said in the statement signed by Director General, Godfrey Itaye.

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Private security firms expect the crisis to worsen as hackers are getting more sophisticated and few businesses have adopted proper security measures to thwart such attacks.

According to media reports in the US, the ransomware attack was first reported from Sweden, the UK, and France, with a number of antivirus and security software companies raising red flags over the issue since then.

Security software firm Avast reported an increase in the malware’s activity on Friday last week, and said that it had “quickly escalated into a massive spreading”.

Researchers at Kaspersky, Labs recorded over 45,000 attacks in 99 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, India, China, Italy, and Egypt.

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