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Microsoft withheld update that could have slowed WannaCry
19 May 2017, 11:23 | Patty Hardy
However, the cost is rather high and this led to several organizations, including the NHS in the United Kingdom, to give up this support after the first year.
The Ransomware attack affected more than 300,000 internet addresses worldwide, including government agencies, large corporations and banks.
Alex is a technical writer for Firebrand Training. And Cheshire and Wirral NHS Trust's websitesaid it was still experiencing "significant IT disruptions" and that its business continuity plans are being implemented as it works to get its systems back up and running.
Mr Wysopal said businesses could learn from how WannaCry spread through the Windows file-sharing system by developing a strict schedule for when computers companywide should automatically install the latest software updates.
EternalBlue has been used by the NSA for more than five years.
If you are already a victim of ransomware, the first thing to do is disconnect your computer from the internet so it does not infect other machines. That Windows flaw was part of the NSA hacking toolbox when it was released by the Shadow Brokers hacking group a few weeks ago.
According to the cyber security experts, many corporate, institutions and individual have been hit by the ransomware. While the attackers failed to hack systems and computers that are running on Apple's iOS operating system, systems running on Microsoft's Window faced hardest hit from the cyber crooks. The ransomware affected organizations using Windows XP, an unsupported, outdated operating system. Microsoft did issue patches for the vulnerabilities before the attacks took place, but not everyone downloaded them.
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Windows flies in the face of the basic tenets of security. And, while the company did issue early fixes for its newer operating systems, patches for older Windows systems were only issued free of charge over the weekend, after the attacks began. Security experts agree that the best protection is to be on a modern, up-to-date system that incorporates the latest defense-in-depth innovations. Or one can have security. That way, if a hacker locked down your computer, you could simply erase all the data from the machine and restore it from the backup.
But patching systems, especially across large, complex networks, is tricky and often organisations delay doing so. By failing to apply the patch from NHS Digital, individual NHS trusts allowed the Wannacry virus to run rampant.
This is minuscule when we compare it to other ransomware attacks. That makes it a really interesting attack platform because I know that in three and a half years time, any new bugs found aren't going to be fixed. That so many computers were susceptible to the Wannacry virus two months after Microsoft's patch is shocking, showing that top-level employees either don't understand the risk or don't care. "This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem".
"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world", the company declared. "However, NSA is not entirely responsible for the event, and hence Microsoft should voluntarily accept some accountability".
Microsoft has called on governments to consider the attacks as a wake-up call. An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.
Experts working on the cyber-attack have expressed a possible North Korean link, although no firm location of origin has been determined yet. Our Switchboard equipment was compromised in the cyber attack.
This will not be fixed quickly. In addition, organizations need to attain continuous visibility at the thread level into every endpoint in the network to hunt and respond effectively to thread-based attacks in the future. He explained that some had been spotted already.
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