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WannaCry ransomware: Everything you need to know

19 May 2017, 05:14 | Bernard Bryant

WannaCry ransomware attack: A look at other major cyber breaches, hackings

Running Windows? How to protect against the big ransomware attack

Police computer systems in the state of Andhra Pradesh have been hit, local media reports say.

Large companies and government agencies, including Megafon, the second biggest mobile provider in Russian Federation, worldwide shipping company Fedex, and the National Health Service, Britain's national healthcare administration, were among the more high-profile victims of the attack, dubbed "WannaCry", on Friday. Even after payment, the ransomware doesn't automatically release your computer and decrypt your files, according to security researchers.

Computers in 150 countries have been affected.

The cyber experts have warned of a huge risk in near future as most institutions and individuals in Bangladesh use pirated software.

Prabir Sarkar, CEO of OfficeExtract, a local distributor of Kaspersky Lab, said, "We have so far received complaints from five types of medium enterprises in the country". He says that the updated version of the ransomware along with the other variants would continue to haunt computers all over the world. "Starting first in the United Kingdom and Spain, the malicious "WannaCrypt" software quickly spread globally, blocking customers from their data unless they paid a ransom using Bitcoin".

The ACLU, meanwhile, urged Congress to pass a law requiring the government to disclose vulnerabilities to companies "in a timely manner", so that they can patch them as soon as possible. Sadly, solutions make the rounds much more slowly.

This weekend's global online extortion attack reinforces the need for businesses and other large organizations to update their computer operating systems and security software, cybersecurity experts said.

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The company was the one providing security services to Britain's National Health Service, one of the organisations hit by the ransomware outbreak and possibly the one which earned the most coverage about its misfortunes. The ease of stopping the attack suggests the hackers were new to this game.

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in April 2014, which meant the company stopped providing any security updates or technical support for the OS since then.

"NSA should be embarrassed - they've had a lot of damaging leaks", said James Lewis, a former US official who is now a cyber expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Bkav recommends that all computer users immediately install updates and security patches and hotfixes via Windows Update. The VEP was established to determine whether the government should withhold or disclose information about computer software security vulnerabilities. The feature notifies you when important updates are available on your computer.

Backup your system fully and on a regular basis.

Responding to the incident, the company's president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, criticized the US government's weaponizing of computer vulnerabilities, the leak of which enabled this attack, and the dangers of not informing tech companies about them. Tips include updating software regularly; using anti-virus software; regularly backing up data; never clicking on unknown attachments, banners or links; consulting your anti-virus provider on instructions for removing the infection; and never paying out any money.

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