No Asian, No Cry: Asian Countries Escaped the Worst of WannaCry Ransomware, but Governments Are Engaged


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Asian countries largely found themselves in the clear—at least compared to the rest of the world—from the effects of the WannaCry ransomware attack that started spreading around the world last week.

With the virus spreading through the West in the afternoon May 12, many businesses in Asia were already closed for the weekend.

WannaCry did spread to thousands of computers when employees went back to work Monday morning in Asia, but there were no significant disruptions.

WannaCry hit more than 300,000 computers in more than 150 countries, infecting computers running Windows operating systems to block access to data unless a fee is paid.

 

Companies such as Hitachi Ltd. and Nissan Motor Co. in Japan reported being hit, but business operations were unaffected. China reported problems at approximately 40,000 organizations and 4,000 academic institutions.

Overall the impact was relatively light, and the stock market was largely unaffected, with stocks up, and Chinese cybersecurity being forced to suspend trading after their stocks hit the daily limit of a 10 percent increase.

The lack of serious consequences hasn’t stopped Asian countries from taking preventative steps. Thailand’s Assembly proposed immediately establishing a cybersecurity committee that could take defensive measures, and the Singapore and Malaysia governments provided guidance to citizens over the weekend.

The 31-year-old Asia Pacific Roundtable advisory group will hold this month’s annual meeting on tensions between the private and public sectors when it comes to privacy and cybersecurity, and how private companies will deal with the developing and stocking of malware of government intelligence services.

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