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Ransomware WannaCry: Uttar Pradesh police lists 5 steps to save your computer

19 May 2017, 12:30 | Bernard Bryant

The ransomware, which has spread globally, has been infecting computers by exploiting a Windows vulnerability involving the Server Message Block protocol, a file-sharing feature.

A British cyber security expert who was credited with preventing more than 100,000 computers across the world from being infected with the virus warned that any new version may be unstoppable. The hack highlighted the vulnerability the spy agency faces, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars to ramp up its own cybersecurity since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed internal agency files on its eavesdropping programs in 2013. That's why it's called ransomware. Microsoft has connected previous exploits of its products released by the mysterious Shadow Brokers group to tools which were stolen from NSA cyber warfare operations.

The surveillance and hacking tools developed by the NSA and its likes, make the entire internet less secure. EternalBlue uses a backdoor referred to as DoublePulsar and those who haven't installed Microsoft's patch from March may still be vulnerable to the ransomware attack.

The National Informatics Centre, which builds and manages nearly all government websites, and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, a premier research institute that has built supercomputers, have actively installed patches to immunise their Windows systems, Sundararajan said, according to the agency report. It's crucial that customers allow their computers to automatically patch themselves when patches are issued.

A global ransomware attack has affected more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries, Europol chief Rob Wainwright says.

In the United Kingdom however, the attack hit the National Health Service badly enough that services to patients were disrupted. But U.K. hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms like Fedex also reported they had come under assault.

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This attack highlights a larger problem with proprietory software and hardware sold by companies such as Microsoft. His concerns were echoed by James Clapper, former director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama.

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Also hit were Deutsche Bahn, the Russian Central Bank, Russian Railways, Russia's Interior Ministry, Megafon and Telefónica.

Nevertheless, if you are running Windows, be sure to install any outstanding updates today. In an interview on ABC's "This Week", Clapper said the worry was "this ransomware attack will be even larger" as people return to their desks after the weekend.

Despite the brazenness of this extortion scam - which has now sparked law enforcement to mount an worldwide manhunt to catch the unknown perpetrators behind WannaCry - it seems the crooks haven't exactly made it rich with the stunt, netting just over US$26,000 on the first day of the attack. Microsoft then made its patch available to all XP users but many of those who didn't update immediately were caught out. Back up your data on an offline hard drive. 4. You can start Windows Update from the Control Panel in Windows 7, from the Settings screen (the gear icon) in Windows 10, or by simply opening the Start menu, typing in "Windows Update" into the search field and hitting the Enter key.

The hackers remain anonymous for now, but it appears that they are amateurs.

New versions of the worm are expected, they said, and the extent - and economic cost - of the damage from Friday's attack were unclear. Patched computers carry a much lower risk of being infected by malware or ransomware than those without an update. "The numbers are going up, I am anxious about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn (on) their machines on Monday morning", Europol director Rob Wainwright told Britain's ITV. As WannaCry spread, Microsoft did issue an emergency patch for XP and other out-of-support Windows versions, and the crisis will surely reopen questions about how long Microsoft should support old versions of its software.

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