Security experts find clues to ransomware worm's lingering risks

Author

21 May, 2017

But the digital devastation suffered by the NHS is not limited to the old operating system.

In March, the company released a free patch that would have protected computers from the malware.

Smith said the attack provided graphic evidence about "the degree to which cybersecurity has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers".

USE ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE Using antivirus software will at least protect you from the most basic, well-known viruses by scanning your system against the known fingerprints of these pests.

Microsoft has been limiting support for its older software and is trying to convince users to switch to its more secure and newer Windows 10.

Reuters reports that two thirds of those affected were running old versions of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system and failing to install the latest security upgrades.

"Clearly people who run supported versions of Windows and patched quickly were not affected", Trustwave's Mador said. "We believe the recent ransomware attack could accelerate the Windows upgrade cycle for enterprises".

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Because of the way WannaCry spreads sneakily inside organisation networks, a far larger total of ransomed computers sitting behind company firewalls may be hit, possibly numbering upward of a million machines.

Russia's largest bank Sberbank said late last week it had been attacked by a virus but that its systems were not infected. "THE ONLY WORKABLE SOLUTION" Guinet, a security researcher at Paris-based Quarks Lab, published the basic technique for decrypting WannaCry files on Thursday, which Delpy then figured out how to turn into a practical tool to salvage files. The other, ill-advised method is to pay the WannaCry attackers $300 in bitcoin. Companies needing to restore their operations right away likely would have turned to backups, if available, by now.

The WannaCry ransomware attack compromised the systems of Russian banks in some isolated cases, the Russian central bank said on Friday in the first official acknowledgement by Moscow that the virus had an impact on the country's banking system.

WannaCry takes advantage of a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows.

These factors help explain the mystery of why such a tiny number of victims appear to have paid ransoms into the three bitcoin accounts to which WannaCry directs victims.

"Microsoft rushed out a patch before the attack which is pretty much all they can do", said Enderle. "That's what the data shows", MWR research head Pratley said.

China's cyber authorities have repeatedly pushed for what they call a more "equitable" balance in global cyber governance, criticising USA dominance.


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