For all the worldwide chaos they have caused, the ransomware attack's perpetrators have reportedly made little more than less than $70,000, according to Tom Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.
The ransomware, identified as a malicious program called "WannaCrypt", demanded Bitcoin payments to unlock infected systems. Also, it turned out that Russian Federation and India are the two worst hit countries, because of extensive use of Windows XP. How did it spread so fast?
It's likely that you have heard of the recent ransomware attack that started spreading across the world last Friday. But because so many companies didn't apply it, the so-called WannaCry attack spread like cholera. As previously mentioned, this attack is particularly unsafe because it's also a worm, which means that once it gets into a computer it starts connecting to other systems to spread as much as possible.
Neither the country's apex bank, the Reserve Bank of India, nor any other leading bank has so far reported anything amiss in the Indian financial system.
"Our analysis indicates the attack, dubbed 'WannaCry, ' is initiated through an SMBv2 remote code execution in Microsoft Windows", the piece continues. Linux, Mac or any unix based OS are not affected.
Because this attack is so contagious - it self-propagates, slithering from computer to computer without any human help - Microsoft decided it had to build a patch for that antique system too. A "critical" patch had been issued by Microsoft on March 14 to remove the underlying vulnerability for supported systems, almost two months before the attack, but many organizations had not yet applied it.
However, it seems that those with Windows XP are most largely hit by the ransomware. You should have ditched XP when Windows stopped supporting it 3 years ago. Meanwhile, home PC users are also encouraged to make sure that their version of Windows is up to date to avoid being hit.
The ACLU, meanwhile, urged Congress to pass a law requiring the government to disclose vulnerabilities to companies "in a timely manner", so that they can patch them as soon as possible. Yet, we may never guarantee. "In India, the use of outdated software is a big problem when it comes to be safe from these attacks", he said.
How to safeguard from WannaCry? It is best to take precautionary steps like taking regular back-ups on a hard drive and keeping the software and operating system up-to-date.
Disable SMB service completely if required.
Never respond to emails from unknown sources.
Besides, antivirus updates needs to be pushed to all end users and servers.
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