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20 May 2017, 08:50 | Bernard Bryant
The'Wannacry ransomware attackMore
As a result, numerous organizations such as the U.K.'s National Health Service have found themselves unable to access vital data because their files were encrypted by the cyberattack, which demanded ransom payments in the Bitcoin digital currency to unlock information. The company had already been supporting it longer than it normally would have because so many customers still used it and the effort was proving costly.
While authorities can and do use security flaws to gather intelligence, companies such as Microsoft want to be told about vulnerabilities so they can patch the holes in their security and protect their users from attacks such as WannaCry.
Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said Sunday that the ransomware attack should serve as a "wake-up call" to governments not to hoard vulnerabilities.
EternalBlue exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft operating systems.
Still, it was Microsoft that wrote the exploitable software to begin with. Globally, the attack appeared to be waning, after affecting more than 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries, many of them still struggling to deal with the problem.
"The size of the outbreak is indicative of the number of machines out there which have not been patched with security updates".
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Microsoft said the vulnerability doesn't exist within the latest version of Windows 10, but if you have an earlier version of Windows, you are encouraged to download the latest update on Microsoft's website. In response, the software company issued a patch on March 14.
As a quick refresher, a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers released a treasure trove of NSA exploits and hacking tools just a few weeks ago.
"They're going to end up going above and beyond and some vendors are going to start extending support for out-of-support things that they haven't done before", said Greg Young, an analyst at market research firm Gartner Inc. "But at the same time, I also know that if you're someone who's been affected and you've lost all your children's photographs or you've lost all your data or you lost your thesis, sometimes $300 is worth it, you know?"
On its own, the shared code is little more than an intriguing lead. Kaspersky Lab says that the majority of affected systems were in Russian Federation.
The WannaCry ransomware attack is slowing as IT teams across the globe work to deploy patches, disable SMBv1 and recover files, but we are still very much in the midst of the situation. As reports say, the vulnerabilities, developed by National Security Agency were leaked to the internet, following which the cyber crooks succeeded in hacking millions of computers across the world.
It will release details of these exploits in a "monthly data dump" available to cybercriminals willing to pay a subscription for access to these secrets. "Occasionally mistakes happen", he added.
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