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'WannaCry' Ransomware Attack Stymies Global PCs

20 May 2017, 02:09 | Patty Hardy

'WannaCry' Ransomware Attack Stymies Global PCs

'WannaCry' Ransomware Attack Stymies Global PCs

Here are some of the key players in the attack and what may - or may not - be their fault. It leveraged an exploit - a tool created to take advantage of a security hole - leaked in a batch of hacking tools believed to belong to the NSA. If an email appears to have come from your bank, credit card company or internet service provider, keep in mind that they will never ask for sensitive information like your password or social security number.

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

On Friday, Microsoft took what the software vendor itself called the "highly unusual step of providing a security update for all customers to protect Windows platforms that are in custom support only, including Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003".

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call", Smith said. "This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem".

"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", the company said Sunday.

Incidentally, the Microsoft did issue a patch to quash the exploit in March.

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According to press reports, the malicious software was first spotted in Russian Federation but rapidly spread across the globe in what might turn out to be an attack of unprecedented scale.

Kaspersky Labs's Global Research and Analysis team points out that WannaCry starts with a remote code execution in Microsoft Windows, taking advantage of a vulnerability dubbed "EternalBlue". 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.

"Had the NSA not waited until our enemies already had this exploit to tell Microsoft, [so that] Microsoft could begin the patch cycle, we would have had years to prepare hospital networks for this attack rather than a month or two, which is what we actually ended up with", he added. IBM observed that 95% of all security incidents involve some kind of human error. Now some are blaming Microsoft for this ransomware attack, and not following up on security measures. The computers would operate normally, but the miner would also run in the background.

"Most importantly for ransomware, backup the data that matters to you", NCSC advised.

Bottom line: Make sure your device's software is up to date.

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. In addition, with regards to the recent ransomware attack, based on the now available information, an arsenal of powerful malicious tools designed by the NSA with the main aim to infect and control computers running certain versions of Windows was leaked by the Shadow Brokers hacking group.



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