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Chinese state media says USA should take some blame for cyber attack

19 May 2017, 09:11 | Patty Hardy

This vicious piece of code is a type of a Trojan encryptor created to extort money from users by holding their data to ransom.

The malware is installed on the host computer, the user locked out and the data shelved.

The cyber criminals have demanded a fee of about Dollars 300 in crypto-currencies like Bitcoin for unlocking the device.

Ransomware "tends to be a crime that is born on the Internet, born through kits sold on the dark web that already pre-build in anonymity of the perpetrators", said police detective Nick Selby, who specializes in cybercrime.

On top of that, the NSA would likely be able to claim that it is shielded from liability under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which says that the government can not be sued over carrying out its official duties.

This decision to keep ATMs closed stems from a directive from the Reserve Bank of India, who has been taking steps to counter the damage from the effect of WannaCry ransomware.

Support for Windows XP was withdraw in April 2014 but according to Digital Health Intelligence 2015 data on NHS infrastructure as many as 20% of NHS organisations could still be making use of it, and around 90% are thought to run something on it somewhere in their organisation, often in clinical systems or imaging equipment.

WannaCry ransomware attack: Some ATMs in India remain shut on precautionary ground
As per reports, the ATMs are highly vulnerable to the malware as most of the machines are still operated on Microsoft WindowsXP. Wanna Cry encrypts the files on infected Windows system and spreads by exploiting vulnerabilities.

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The attack started Friday and affected thousands of computers, hitting more than 150 countries by Monday. Microsoft issued the patch shortly after the vulnerability was made public.

Dore said companies that faced disruptions because they did not run the Microsoft update or because they were using older versions of Windows could face lawsuits if they publicly touted their cyber security. The company even slammed the United States' National Security Agency for not sharing the information about the vulnerability soon enough with Microsoft officials. And just as they are unlikely to pay for an upgrade to their operating systems, they may not want to - or be able to - pay for security fixes. The company no longer provides regular software updates to Windows XP, a version first released in 2001, unless customers pay for "custom support", a practice some observers believe has put users at risk.

"As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems. Following this, Microsoft had sent patches in its update in March itself to counter this particular form of threats", Udhav told TNM.

The cyber security expert draws parallels with the data security breaches last September and October, where a malware attack forced Indian banks to replace or request users to change the security codes of 3.2 million debit cards. Although the attack is said to have affected computer systems across the world, there were no reports of any sensitive information getting leaked from major computer systems anywhere in India.

On top of that, critics say, the government didn't notify companies like Microsoft about the vulnerabilities quickly enough.

The WannaCry pandemic is thus a win-win situation for Microsoft, which will only end up minting more money from the fiasco. It said computers running on the desktop and server editions of the Microsoft Windows operating system are most impacted.

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