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Frenchman claims cure for WannaCry-infected computers

19 May 2017

Do remember that this is only for Windows XP users infected with WannaCry who have not rebooted their systems at all since the encryption. The tool released can potentially reverse the effects of the ransomware and free files on a system.

The WannaKey tool seems to be a promising way for all those Windows XP users infected by the ransomware but its results on a larger scale still need to be seen. WannaCry encrypts victims' computer files and displays a message demanding ransoms to be paid in the digital currency Bitcoin before people can get their files back.

Then find the Wanakiwi folder in Downloads, open it and double-click wanakiwi.exe to begin the decryption process. Wanakiwi has not yet been extensively tested on computers with x64 CPUs, so it's possible the tool doesn't work as reliably on that platform.

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Cybersecurity researchers on Thursday released a key to help decrypt files that have been locked away by WannaCry. The developer of the tool says that, in order for it to work, you should not have restarted your PC after infection and some part of the memory should not have "been reallocated and erased".

Suiche, based in the United Arab Emirates and one of the world's top security researchers, provided advice and testing to ensure the fix worked across all various versions of Windows. "In short, his technique is totally bad ass and super smart". While the interface includes functions for erasing a key from computer memory once it has been secured, previously overlooked limitations sometimes allow the prime numbers used to create a key to remain intact in computer memory until the PC is powered down or the memory location is overwritten with new data.

Guinet's tool works only on Windows XP.

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French researcher Benajmin Delpy updated that key with WanaKiwi so it could work on Windows 7 devices, too. And if a computer is rebooted, the memory wipes and the keys are lost. However, the flaw that the decryption tools exploit was fixed in Windows 8 and later.

The tool may be helpful for XP users infected with WannaCry, but a similar tool for Windows 7 is likely to have a bigger impact at sites such as the UK NHS hospitals that were hit hard by the recent ransomware attack. On the other hand, Windows XP systems that haven't been infected just yet must deploy Microsoft's patch that's available even for unsupported versions of Windows.

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