The Latest: Microsoft Shifts Policy, Now Makes Fixes Free

By AP

Published May 13th, 2017

The Latest: Microsoft Shifts Policy, Now Makes Fixes Free

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the global cyberattack (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

The worldwide cyberextortion attack has prompted Microsoft to take the unusual step of making security fixes available for older Windows system.

Before this, Microsoft had made fixes for older systems, such as 2001's Windows XP, available only to mostly larger organizations that pay extra for extended support. But millions of individuals and smaller businesses still had such systems.

Microsoft says now it will make the fixes free for everyone.

Friday's attack was based on a Windows vulnerability that was purportedly identified by the U.S. National Security Agency and was later leaked to the internet.

Microsoft released fixes for the vulnerability in March, but computers that didn't run the update were subject to the ransom attack. Once inside an organization's network, the malware behind the attack spread rapidly using this vulnerability.

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12:40 p.m.

Union members at French carmaker Renault say the global cyberattack has forced it to halt production at sites in France in an effort to stop the malware from spreading.

The two unionists spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitiveness of the issue.

They say the factory of Renault factory at Sandouville, in northwestern France, was one of the sites affected.

The consequences for the company remained unclear. Renault officials were not immediately available for comment.

— By Sylvie Corbet

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12:00 p.m.

The European Union's police agency, Europol, says it is working with countries hit by the global ransomware cyberattack to rein in the threat and help victims.

In a statement Saturday, Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, known as EC3, said the attack "is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex international investigation to identify the culprits."

EC3 says its Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce, made up of experts in high-tech crime, "is specially designed to assist in such investigations and will play an important role in supporting the investigation."

The attack, which locked up computers and held users' files for ransom, was believed the biggest of its kind ever recorded.

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11:00 a.m.

Germany's national railway says that it was among the organizations affected by the global cyberattack but there was no impact on train services.

Deutsche Bahn says that departure and arrival display screens at its stations were hit Friday night by the attack. The company said it deployed extra staff to busy stations to provide customer information, and recommended that passengers check its website or app for information on their connections.

The railway said that there was no impact on actual train services.

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10:50 a.m.

The head of Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority or BTK says the nation was among those affected by the ransomware attack. Omer Fatih Sayan said the country's cyber security center is continuing operations against the malicious software.

The Computer Emergency Response Team of Turkey tweeted that the "wannacry ransomware" is spread over Server Message Block flaws. The team asked users to update antivirus applications and not open suspicious phishing emails.

The effects of the attack on Turkey are unclear.

Citing a written statement by BTK, Turkey's official Anadolu news agency said the cyberattack affected 74 countries, "including Turkey in a small way."

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10:45 a.m.

Britain's National Cyber Security Center says teams are working "round the clock" to restore hospital computer systems after a global cyberattack that hit dozens of countries forced British hospitals to cancel and delay treatment for patients.

The attack, which locked up computers and held users' files for ransom, was believed the biggest of its kind ever recorded. Several cybersecurity firms said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack, which has apparently hit Russia the hardest.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Saturday that 45 public health organizations were hit, but she stressed that no patient data had been stolen.

Germany's national railway says departure and arrival display screens at its stations were affected Friday night, but there was no impact on train services.

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