February 23, 2018

Ransomware: WannaCry cyber attack may attack Indian banking system soon, says expert

19 May 2017, 11:05 | Ross Houston

The ransomware took advantage of a flaw in Microsoft's Windows operating system. WannaCry was especially successful because it was able to leverage the spy tools which the NSA developed to monitor the computers of suspected terrorists, an exploit which was leaked last month.

Microsoft Corp President Brad Smith sharply criticized the US government on Sunday for "stockpiling" software flaws that it often can not protect, citing recent leaks of both NSA and Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools. "This is an emerging pattern in 2017".

"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

Microsoft is blaming the US government.

Information on the vulnerability exploited in the WannaCrypt attack (also called WannaCry, Wana Decryptor or WCry) was reportedly stolen from the NSA in April. Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability in March. We recommend users proactively update their operating systems, use caution when opening email attachments and enable LiveGrid on your ESET products. Once the hackers were in, they could control everything stored on your computer.

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First noticed on Friday, the WannaCry attack has affected at least 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, with attackers locking people out of their computers while demanding a Bitcoin ransom.

The ransomware has hit hospitals in the United Kingdom and Telefonica in Spain, according to the Internet Storm Center. The computer screen locks up, and displays two count-down clocks - one displaying the time until the ransom doubles and the other the time until all files are deleted.

Hacker House researcher Matthew Hickey said: "Do not pay the ransom, a manual human operator must activate decryption". Those infected are asked for a payment of $300 in order to decrypt the files on their PCs.

But a MI researcher who helped stop the attack warns that those involved might be able to quickly circumvent the security measures put in place. Because of those successes, the software is already inspiring imitators, as the Bleeping Computer site reports. The Interior Ministry on Monday reported that protective measures have been taken so that the computer systems of the government and related agencies are now well protected. "Otherwise they're literally fighting the problems of the present with tools from the past".

He also compared both WikiLeaks' release of CIA hacking tools in March and the stealing of a Microsoft Windows vulnerability from the National Security Agency last month to the theft of weapons from the US military.

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