Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Things to Know About the 'WannaCry' Ransomware Attack


The tools behind the attack originated within the NSA.

"The operating systems on our computers and software downloads are managed centrally so that regular users can not download executable files from the internet without administrative rights", he said in an email. The hackers here weren't playing some political interference game: They were after money, in bitcoin. WannaCrypt hijacks this connection using EternalBlue, which allows the malware to spread across businesses in seconds.

New infections stopped Friday when a malware researcher in the United Kingdom discovered a web domain in the code. He and Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, argued that Cyber Command should be spun off from the NSA into an operation shaped like the Coast Guard, responsible for a combination of law enforcement, first response, public safety and cyber combat.

Jonathan Zittrain, a professor specializing in internet law at Harvard Law School, said courts have frequently dismissed lawsuits against the agency on the grounds they might result in the disclosure of top secret information.

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On Friday, May 12, 2017, around 11 AM ET/3PM GMT, a ransomware attack of "unprecedented level" started spreading WannaCry around the world. "We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".

It's a scary scenario for politicians, some of whom heard testimony calling into question the military and intelligence sectors' ability to defend the US from cyber attacks just last week, in a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today - nation-state action and organized criminal action.

It's tempting to howl at the NSA for not alerting companies like Microsoft when its researchers find vulnerabilities in their products. He notes that in February Microsoft called for a new "Digital Geneva Convention" to address these issues, "including a new requirement for governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them".

How did the NSA plan to use Eternalblue in the first place is a good question.

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The newest version of the Microsoft operating system now holds just 26% of the global market. On a broader scale, Microsoft could help disable the spread of worms by helping to secure the tens of millions of computers still running XP, and hundreds of millions running other versions prior to Windows 10. Speaking to ANI Subhamangala a Cyber Security expert has told that, "There are so many states that have been affected".

The identity of Shadow Brokers is unknown though many security experts believe the group that surfaced in 2016 is linked to the Russian government. For the German railroads, too, switching all the ticket terminals to Windows 10 is not exactly a priority. There is a reasons companies urge you to update - they frequently release bug fixes. Certainly many institutions and companies underinvest in this area.

Windows 8, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft should know that there are people, small businesses, schools and hospitals that still use older version of Windows, such as XP (which came out in 2001).

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But that's as unethical as shooting or torturing the civilians in war.

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