Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

What to do to protect your computer and its data from malware

What to do to protect your computer and its data from malware

Who's being targeted for blame?

Over the last few days, the global ransomware attack WannaCry infected computers running on older versions of Microsoft operating systems like XP, locking access to files. The alleged leaking of EternalBlue exploit, believed to be developed by the U.S. authorities, has resulted in massive public damages. Many have assumed that their own agencies can strike others without risk, but citizens are starting to suffer collateral damage. Consequently, there is no way for the hackers to actually know who has paid and who hasn't. Instructions on how to install this patch are also available at ZDNet. "Microsoft can't be proud".

"WannaCry", as the ransomware is known, uses a Windows vulnerability originally identified by the NSA, according to security experts.

The attack had infected close to 30,000 Chinese organizations by Saturday evening, Chinese security software maker Qihoo said. Brad Smith, the company's lawyer wrote on Microsoft's official blog: "An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen". Brad Smith, Microsoft's top lawyer, criticized US intelligence agencies for "stockpiling" software code that can be used by hackers.

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The widespread attack has prompted calls - most notably from Microsoft's President and Chief Legal Officer - for the NSA to share with companies what it knows about other vulnerabilities, and raised questions about the agency's ability to safeguard its stockpile of secret exploits. If you have questions or are unsure about whether your Microsoft Windows operating system received the crucial patch necessary to block this ransomware attack, contact CMIT Solutions immediately (973-325-3663).

The attacks exploit vulnerabilities in old Windows operating systems. WannaCry affected Windows versions as far back as XP, a version that Microsoft no longer supports. Of the 18 updates Microsoft released on 14 March, including the WannaCry fix, half were rated "critical", and the rest were labelled "important". He noted, however, the complexity that can be involved in patching a security hole.

He also bemoaned the sluggishness of the NSA's response to the attack, suggesting that the effect of WannaCry could've been minimised if it had given Microsoft more time to issue updates. Three vital email security tips for defending against ransomware are then presented. "FireEye has also taken steps to help secure its customers", Sahu told IANS.

First, some self-serving, chest-thumping, braggadocious good news for readers: If you're a victim but took the advice in my April 3 column ("Stop Reading This and Back Up Your Data"), you're files are safe.

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"It's not rocket science", Litan said.

Comparing a hack to the theft of Tomahawk missiles might sound like hyperbole, but Ed Goings, the National Principal in Charge of Forensic Technology Cyber Services at KPMG, says it isn't far off. Asked what the company is doing to prevent such exploitations, he cited "basic IT security blocking and tackling".

Global malware Wannacry has hit India hard, infecting more than 40,000 computers and making it the third worst hit nation.

In the United States, it seems to be the cyber-crimes have been increased since 2010, and this was the major in the country, but still, the country had many major cyber-attacks in previous years too.

Follow CERT-In instructions on WannaCry attack: RBI to banks
A computer screen shows an error message after Britain's National Health Service was hacked. "Which we will", she said. Nissan Motor Co. confirmed Monday some units had been targeted, but there was no major impact on its business.

The state-run People's Daily compared the cyber attack to the terrorist hacking depicted in the U.S. film "Die Hard 4", warning that China's role in global trade and internet connectivity opened it to increased risks from overseas.

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