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Important Steps to Prepare for the WannaCry Ransomware Attack

18 May, 2017, 21:18 | Author: Nadine Todd

On Sunday, the top legal officer at Windows maker Microsoft criticized governments for stockpiling software flaws and not warning companies, calling the WannaCry attack a "wakeup call".

Only a small number of the more than 200,000 estimated victims of the WannCry ransomware attack seemed to have paid the demand based on the publicly available bitcoin accounts where they are instructed to make their payments. However, MS17-010 is a patch for newer operating systems as well, such as Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, plus Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012 and even Windows Server 2016.

While the EternalBlue exploit did not affect Windows 10, the group said "newer exploits for Windows 10" could be provided, as well as "compromised network data" from worldwide financial systems and foreign nuclear and missile programmes.

Smith's blog post did not address another factor in the ransomware's spread, one that hints at the difficulty of uniting against a hacking attack: Users of pirated Microsoft software are unable to download the security patch, forcing them to fend for themselves or rely on a third-party source for a solution.

While the NSA has not commented on either the WannaCry attack or Microsoft's response, Tom Bossert, President Trump's Homeland Security advisor discussed at Monday's daily White House press briefing that the infection rate has been relatively low in the USA compared to overseas infection rates, and that no federal systems have been compromised.

The Microsoft President also added: "The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call". This is an emerging pattern in 2017.

Smith compared the NSA losing track of its cyber weapon to the US military having Tomahawk cruise missiles stolen.

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world", wrote Smith. The computing giant said software vulnerabilities hoarded by governments had caused "widespread damage", the BBC reported. For those systems that can not be updated, he suggested blocking SMB traffic on ports 139 and/or 445. By that time, Microsoft had discovered the bug on its own and issued a security update, but many users with older versions of Windows no longer receive such updates.

Windows maker Microsoft says ransomware can infect your PC by visiting unsafe, suspicious or fake websites; by opening emails and attachments from people you don't know or didn't expect; or by clicking on malicious links in emails and social media.

"ShadowBrokers are back" tweeted Matthieu Suiche, a French hacker and security researcher who has tracked the group.

Update your windows machine - don't ignore the security update they exist for a reason.

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