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What is WannaCry ransomware?

17 May, 2017, 22:24 | Author: Nadine Todd

But with Microsoft making an exception this time and providing the patch free to XP users, it may come under pressure to do the same next time it issues a critical security update.

Businesses and networks across Asia are coping with the first wave of WannaCry during their workweek. Globally, the attack spread more slowly today.

The computing giant said software vulnerabilities hoarded by governments had caused "widespread damage", the BBC reported. By Monday, the company said it had resumed "normal operations". NIC is monitoring more than 100 websites of state departments, institutions and colleges. "But if a vulnerability exists, it exposes systems to attacks".

When the computer virus struck on Friday 47 trusts were affected and seven had to close their doors in A&E to ambulances. "The cyberattack can in many cases limit the amount of loss of life". If an organization finds itself in the unfortunate situation facing a ransomware attack, there are a number of best practices and response measures that can and should be promptly deployed. In France, automaker Renault shut down production at several plants because of the same virus.

"The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits", Europol's European Cybercrime Center says.

Information will be encypted and locked and will only be released when a ransom is paid through the digital currency, bitcoin.

The identity of whoever deployed the software remains unknown.

The malware paralyzed computers in factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems, hitting 200,000 victims in more than 150 countries by Monday.

"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the United States military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen". The company found out about the existence of the vulnerability only shortly before the general public, when it was leaked by the Shadow Brokers hacker group on April 14 of this year. WannaCry takes advantage of a coding error.

We made a decision to dig a bit deeper and spoke to some cyber security analysts and firms regarding the issue.

Security experts also warn WannaCry might strike again through new, updated variants. But we note that it's no accident that the expert, who prefers to remain anonymous and uses the name Malware Tech, registered a domain name that was called out in the code and used it to stop the worm from spreading.

Although those computers won't have their data ransomed, it's not hard to create a new variant (or 10) that may infect at a similar rate using kill switches that haven't been activated - if they include kill switches at all. "The cat-and-mouse will likely continue until [someone] makes a larger change to the malware, removing the kill-switch functionality completely". In March, it released a software patch that addressed the vulnerability exploited by the ransomware, known as WannaCry, protecting systems such as Windows 10, its latest operating system.

Dore said companies that faced disruptions because they did not run the Microsoft update or because they were using older versions of Windows could face lawsuits if they publicly touted their cyber security. However, she believes that some banks have proactively taken steps to update their systems anyway, which should be enough to prevent WannaCry infections.

Keep all the software on your computer up-to-date. This will make it much easier to spot potentially malicious files.

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