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WannaCry Ransomware: Microsoft Calls Out NSA For 'Stockpiling' Vulnerabilities
20 May 2017, 02:45 | Deanna Wagner
Security agencies are hunting for those behind a crippling cyberattack which has so far hit hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, including at government agencies, factories and health services.
Ransomware is a kind of malicious software that, as its name implies, takes a computer hostage and holds it for ransom.
"That's what makes this more troubling than ransomware was a week ago", Thakur said.
Keep all the software on your computer up-to-date. But these worm attacks became harder to pull off as computer owners and software makers shored up their defenses.
"The government's response has been chaotic, to be frank", the British Labour Party's health spokesman Jon Ashworth said.
The attack has locked computers and blocked access to patient files.
Rather than relying exclusively on users clicking on malicious attachments or links, WannaCry can slip in without user action, then use the infected machine to spread the ransomware further.
The attack is unique, according to Europol, because it combines ransomware with a worm function, meaning once one machine is infected, the entire internal network is scanned and other vulnerable machines are infected. After talking to Microsoft, we had asked people to install patch system in March. Sure enough, WannaCry found plenty of targets. WannaCry exploited common techniques employees use to share files via a central server. The malware, which can only affect a computer if it is on, may spread further on Monday as people return to work. But that's complicated, because hackers need to find security flaws that are unknown, widespread and relatively easy to exploit.
Information on the vulnerability exploited in the WannaCrypt attack (also called WannaCry, Wana Decryptor or WCry) was reportedly stolen from the NSA in April.
"WannaCrypt ransomware was spread normally long before this and will be long after, what we stopped was the SMB worm variant", he said, referring to the program that affected almost a fifth of NHS Trusts in England and many businesses and government departments around the world. But they could still linger as low-grade infections that flare up from time to time. His law firm sued LinkedIn after a 2012 data breach, alleging individuals paid for premium accounts because the company falsely stated it had top-quality cyber security measures. Unfortunately, two new variations of the virus were spotted on Monday. The hacking tool spreads silently between computers, shutting them down by encrypting data and then demanding a ransom of $300 to unlock them.
The damage might have been temporarily contained.
On Saturday, a cybersecurity researcher told AFP news agency that he had discovered a "kill switch" that can prevent the spread of WannaCry. But attackers can, and probably will, simply develop a variant to bypass this countermeasure.
The geography of attacks that hit post-Soviet Union most also suggests that. In retrospect, what more convenient confluence of events could there be than having a handy justification for Q2 GDP missing again - just blame it on the computer virus - and accusing Russian Federation of being responsible for the latest global slowdown. "Talk about a wake-up call", Hypponen said.
"It seems that a lot of internet security guys over the weekend did their homework and ran the security software updates". "Part of what an organization needs to understand and assess is what those two risks are".
The attack spread to a large swath of different organizations around the world, including the French vehicle company Renault, the Russian cellphone operator MegaFon and USA -based FedEx.
If your company uses an older Windows network system no longer supported by Microsoft, you may not have been prompted to download security updates, but they're available from Microsoft's site. "We've seen that the slowdown of the infection rate over Friday night, after a temporary fix around it, has now been overcome by a second variation the criminals have released".
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