Published: Mon, May 22, 2017
Industry | By Dora Warner

WannaCry Ransomware: What We Know Monday

WannaCry Ransomware: What We Know Monday

The unprecedented WannaCry global cyber attack beginning on Friday has unleashed a new wave of criticism directed at the NSA. Banks in the city are working on the advisories given by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT) and the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), the research wing of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) based out of Hyderabad. If you ask why they are building and stockpiling security exploits for the most common operating systems, they will say it's for espionage operations against foreign enemies.

Microsoft pointed that, "The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call".

India is on high alert, monitoring critical networks across sectors like banking, telecom, power and aviation to ensure that systems are protected against the attack that has claimed victims in more than 150 countries over the weekend.

What's different this time is that the hackers apparently had considerable help from the USA government.

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The malware is installed on the host computer, the user locked out and the data shelved.

According to Microsoft's blog, older versions of Windows that are no longer supported by Microsoft were vulnerable, which includes Windows 8 and Windows XP, which the majority of NHS Trusts were running. You can attempt to pay the roughly $300 ransom using Bitcoin, but there's no guarantee you'll get your files back.

Ahead of the attack, Microsoft released a security update that fixes the exploited flaw on now supported Windows operating systems.

The WannaCry ransomware was first seen in the UK's National Health Service, but it has since spread to networks globally, hitting Europe, Russia and China especially hard.

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The Windows vulnerability theft from the NSA is directly tied to WannaCry. But successive generations of the operating system have been found wanting. In most cases, a new version of Windows or another operating system would also need a new computer that was powerful enough to run it, and potentially new bespoke hardware and software to enable the organisation to do its job. He noted there was no indication the cyber attack had resulted in widespread disclosure of personal data. And WannaCry threatens to create even more havoc on Monday when people return to work.

"The Transmission Control Protocol port 445 of Windows system, which is widely acknowledged unsafe, is closed on many computers". Microsoft issued a security update in March that stops WannaCry and other malware in Windows 7.

Microsoft also dropped a rare fix for users who still used an older Windows software - even though that repair had been previously "retired" - in an effort to halt the ransomware attack, the Financial Times reported.

Mac or Linux users are at the moment safe from harm, but there remains a risk they could be infected via the intranet once a member computer is infected.

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