Last week the WannaCry Ransomware attack made headlines across the world for afflicting various institutions and businesses, including Britain's National Health Service (NHS). By making these communications anonymous, the criminals hide their attack and prevent the victim from intercepting keys that would unlock the data or bitcoin payment a victim might send.
According to Subhendu Sahu, Acting Country Manager for India, FireEye, the ransomware poses high risks to organisations using potentially vulnerable Windows machines.
To date, cyber security experts and researchers have no definitive leads as to who might have carried out the attack, but what is known is that the incident, dubbed "WannaCry" because it is based on the WannaCrypt ransomware worm, is the biggest cyber-attack in history. Those include a known and highly risky security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and malware created to spread quickly once inside university, business and government networks. So, they analyze weaknesses in your operating system's code and keep a figurative vault of ways to hack into computers, like how the CDC stores real viruses.
"It should be included in all Windows - it shouldn't be that you have to pay more for a more secure version of Windows", says Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm.
The Ransomware attack affected more than 300,000 internet addresses worldwide, including government agencies, large corporations and banks. Spain's communications giant Telefonica, utility provider Gas Natural and power firm Iberdrola were hit, as well as the Russian Interior Ministry and FedEx operations in the United States. For Windows 10 users, they simply go to the Start button, type in "About Your PC" and select that, then look under PC for the version, edition and system type (32-bit or 64-bit version).
"If customers have automatic updates enabled or have installed the update, they are protected".
Experts are still trying to determine who launched the ransomware attack. "Many of these same folks are running systems with outdated operating system versions". Install Microsoft's patch. 3. Call it blackmail, extortion or anything you like, but there's no way you can get back your data without paying the ransom.
Microsoft which had discontiued security updates to its out-of-date software, has also provided a security update for all customers using Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003, anticipating further attacks on these earlier platforms being used by millions.
The hackers remain anonymous for now, but it appears that they are amateurs. This person discovered that the unnamed online terrorists accidentally included a "kill switch" in their software that allowed owners of websites to stop the attack. And WannaCry threatens to create even more havoc on Monday when people return to work.
He called, as he did in February, for a "Digital Geneva Convention" to govern weapons in cyberspace the same way governments monitor weapons in the physical world.
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