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giftedviz.com June 25, 2017


Second wave of ransomware attack targeting out-of-date Windows machines under way

20 May 2017, 02:10 | Megan Pierce

A hooded man holds a laptop computer as blue screen with an exclamation mark is projected on him in this illustration

A hooded man holds a laptop computer as blue screen with an exclamation mark is projected on him in this illustration

Today Chinese media condemned the United States for delaying struggles to halt global cyber intimidations in the stir of the WannaCry ransomware bout. Health care providers in Britain's NHS, for example, were forced to turn ambulances away and cancel or delay cancer treatments for patients over the weekend, though officials say 80 percent of the NHS's systems were unaffected and that the disruption is easing.

Public sector agencies also have a luxury in the form of highly-skilled government experts from the likes of the National Cyber Security Centre who are available to ensure that critical services, such as the NHS, are kept operational.

Are victims paying the ransom?

The "WannaCry/Wannacrypt" works by holding data to ransom, threatening to delete it without payment.

Harnish expects those kinds of "integrity attacks" on health data to happen at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Who's being targeted for blame?

Mr Wysopal said businesses could learn from how WannaCry spread through the Windows file-sharing system by developing a strict schedule for when computers companywide should automatically install the latest software updates. "But updating your Microsoft operating system is something that should be done relatively quickly", he concludes.

What about Apple and Android devices? As Apple has gained more marketshare, its products have become a much bigger target for attackers. Unfortunately, there are many systems that simply are rarely updated, such (believe it or not) many military systems.

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There's a code among whitehat hackers and cybersecurity experts alike, whether they're professionals on Google's Project Zero team or just a guy with some know-how working out of his basement: when you discover a bug, you contact the software developer and give them a chance to make it right.

Who's behind the WannaCry attack?

Microsoft in an email to consumers wrote it had released the security update, which addresses the vulnerability that WannaCry is exploiting.

If I were on Windows, I'd take all this very seriously. At the same time, she notes that the "success" of the WannaCry ransomware is "based upon one tried and true fact-many individuals and organizations do not patch their systems in a timely manner".

Microsoft is now warning that the government practice of "stockpiling" software vulnerabilities so that they can be used as weapons is a misguided tactic that weakens security for everybody.

According to the report in March, Microsoft issued a free patch to protect users running more recent versions of Windows from malware, but customers using its older operating systems, such as Windows XP, were charged fees for what the company called custom support.

"The operating systems on our computers and software downloads are managed centrally so that regular users can not download executable files from the internet without administrative rights", he said in an email. The company also made the remarkable step to issue a Windows XP update, an OS that has been unsupported since 2014.



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