emfizz.com May 23, 2017

Second wave of ransomware attack targeting out-of-date Windows machines under way

19 May 2017, 06:55 | Todd Saunders

All you need to know is a wallet's identifying number and WannaCry is hard linked to a few wallets.

They are having more luck dissecting flaws that limited its spread.

But the software giant only sent the free security update - or patch - to users of the most recent version of the Windows 10 operating system, the report said. "For other customers, we encourage them to install the update as soon as possible", said Phillip Misner, principal security group manager, Microsoft Security Response Centre. According to a Reuters report, hackers are working on new exploits for Windows 10, Microsoft's latest operating system. To protect against WannaCry, newer Windows Versions can be patched with MS17-010, which Microsoft released in March.

To make things worse, Microsoft, which used to provide custom security software support to its clients for $200 for each system in 2014, doubled the cost to $400 in 2015, thereby discouraging the companies from upgrading their systems.

However, the Financial Times report points out that Windows XP users are still expected to pay extra if they want security and it now stands at $1,000 per device.

Microsoft declined to comment for this story. Some underground criminals offer dial-a-hacker services on the "dark web", the encrypted segment of the internet not familiar to most users.

Half of all internet addresses corrupted globally by WannaCry are located in China and Russian Federation, with 30 and 20 per cent respectively. Furthermore, infection levels have spiked again this week, according to data supplied to Reuters by threat intelligence firm Kryptos Logic.

A former United States government official said that while Microsoft had significantly improved its security over the past 10 to15 years, it could have acted to protect Windows XP before the ransomware crisis.

"What really makes the magnitude of this attack so much greater than any other is that the intent has changed from information stealing to business disruption", said Samil Neino, 32, chief executive of Los Angeles-based Kryptos Logic.

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Global malware Wannacry has so far infected more than 40,000 computers in India. The company is crunching data to arrive at a firmer estimate it aims to release later Thursday.

"It is important to understand that the way these attacks work means that compromises of machines and networks that have already occurred may not yet have been detected", Britain's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) said in a statement. Nonetheless, the attack is a wakeup call, drawing attention to a critical lack of cyber security understanding and awareness in the NHS and worldwide.

Using another exploit, called EternalBlue, attackers began targeting vulnerable machines with a self-replicating software "worm" that locked files and posted a ransom demand. In fact, Rogers went so far as to encourage USA technology companies to work with the NSA to deliberately create backdoors - a move that the heads of companies like Apple and Yahoo firmly oppose.

"If customers have automatic updates enabled or have installed the update, they are protected".

Some of those who have paid the WannaCry ransom have regained control of their computers, security researchers say.

WannaCry was one of the first highly publicized attacks in which ransomware was weaponized and used against numerous companies at once, there will undoubtedly be future attacks.

"We believe that there is a possibility that these first two variants will combine to produce an attack that will be even more devastating".

Even if your organization does not now believe that it has been affected by this virus, it should back up important files and install the latest Microsoft patches across its entire infrastructure where the Windows OS is used.

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