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WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack is a 'wake-up call', says Microsoft

17 Mai 2017

In a blog post published Sunday, Microsoft president Brad Smith criticized world leaders for stockpiling vulnerabilities to computer systems. The hackers exploited software code from the National Security Agency that leaked online. "An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the United States military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen". Although a researcher discovered and activated a kill switch in the original software, new versions lacking that safeguard have already been released.

On affected computers, the WannaCry software encrypts files and displays a ransom message demanding $300 in bitcoin. "We haven't fully dodged this bullet at all until we're patched against the vulnerability itself".

When you're using public WiFi networks, make sure you tell your system that you're on a public network (many will ask if it's a public or home computer.) That tells your operating system that it's functioning in a potentially threat-filled environment and it will close off some of its more vulnerable software ports to the outside.

European policing and security agencies said the fallout from a ransomware attack that has already crippled more than 200,000 computers around the world could deepen as people return for another work week.

"There are so many states that have been affected". But this is something we haven't seen before.

If you are using an "obsolete" operating system like Windows XP, pay to convert to Windows 10.

Chinese media reported Sunday that students at several universities were hit, blocking access to their thesis papers and dissertation presentations.

But Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt failed to address the NHS cyber attack when he was approached by BBC reporters on Monday morning. "We remain highly vigilant", he said. "The bad guys are always one step ahead".

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China has signed Belt and Road-related agreements with 68 countries and worldwide organisations. The silk road passes through Kashmir and Pakistan.

"There is a lack of transparency in India, in-spite of a mandatory requirement for banks and listed companies to disclose cyber-attack, however, very few banks and companies do that", said Tushar Ajinkya, Partner, DSK Legal. The official was not authorized to discuss the private meetings by name and requested anonymity.

It was too early to say who was behind the onslaught, which struck 100,000 organizations, and what their motivation was, aside from the obvious demand for money.

Abutbul told me, "The WannaCry/Wcry ransomware-the largest ransomware infection in history -is a next-gen ransomware". Instead of having to develop their own arsenals of cyberweapons, they simply had to repurpose work done by the highly skilled cyber experts at the NSA, said Phillip Hallam-Baker, principal scientist at the cybersecurity firm Comodo. The Russian interior ministry said it was working to destroy ransomware on a small number of its computers. (These are the most important patches that the company recommends users install immediately). Older versions of Microsoft Windows are especially vulnerable, as are computers that never got a security patch that became available two months ago.

Installing the patch is one way to secure computers against the virus.

Still, it was Microsoft that wrote the exploitable software to begin with.

Many people in fact believe someone at NSA must have tipped Microsoft that the files had been stolen, which is how it knew it needed to push out that particular patch, said Ryan Kalember of Proofpoint, a Sunnyvale, Calif. -based security firm whose researchers were instrumental in fighting the the WannaCry attack.

"It's one of those things, in a flawless world, if people were up to date on the patches, this wouldn't be a problem", O'Leary said.

WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack is a 'wake-up call', says Microsoft