(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik). Homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Tom Bossert speaks about malware known as WannaCry, Monday, May 15, 2017, during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington.
From governments to individuals, there's plenty of finger-pointing going on following the latest global cyberattack. Click it and all hell breaks loose: your files (documents, spreadsheets, photos etc) get encrypted and locked. Often the initial virus attack that installs ransomware mechanisms onto a system also installs a back door. A month later the hackers used that tool to perform their powerful ransomware attack.
Global malware Wannacry has so far infected more than 40,000 computers in India. Figuring that out could yield important clues to the identity of its authors. A similar situation will face DCs after 2020, when Microsoft ends support for the Windows mobile operating system that runs the vast majority of mobile computers used for RF and voice applications today.
Brad Smith, the President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft has blamed the practice of US's National Security Agency for developing hacking techniques to use against the own enemies of the United States government, while some others have blamed Microsoft's poor programming.
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But it remains unclear how WannaCry got onto computers in the first place.
Don't open that weird link.
"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. Failure to pay would leave the data scrambled and likely beyond fix unless users had unaffected backup copies.
Another lesson is that it's not smart to pay the ransom. Bitcoin is a completely digital currency. However, one of the remarkable things about it is that only a trifling US$100,000 in ransom, give or take, apparently has been paid. According to a Twitter account that monitors those accounts, they've received only about 250 payments worth a total of slightly more than $72,000.
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News of WannaCry ransomeware attack spread like wildfire last weekend, causing panic among the public. But they could all be drawing conclusions from a very small set of clues.
It comes as China prepares to enforce a wide-reaching cyber security law that US business groups say will threaten the operations of foreign firms in China with strict local data storage laws and stringent surveillance requirements. This impacted the e-commerce industry and services/utilities companies. Even if North Korea isn't responsible, it's a wake-up call. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.
Bitcoin is the lifeline of ransomware. That wasn't done here.
The Wanna Decryptor (Wannacry) attack is being cited as the largest ransomware attack in history - it was certainly the largest and most disruptive cyber attack ever launched against the UK's National Health Service (NHS). Ordinary computer users need to apply common sense to guard their machines both at home and at work against virus and malware infection. Ensure PCs are running a current operating system and manage your anti-virus software to maintain updated virus definitions. Then report the crime to law enforcement and seek help from a technology professional who specializes in data recovery to see what your options might be. It's possible that some data that wasn't backed up could be lost.
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While the damage of WannaCry seems to have been limited by a "kill-switch" discovered by British computer expert, Marcus Hutchins, security experts warn that new versions of WannaCry could still proliferate. If an email appears to have come from your bank, credit card company or internet service provider, keep in mind that they will never ask for sensitive information like your password or social security number.
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