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Pirated Windows led to WannaCry's spread in China and Russia

19 May 2017

Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has come out with a list of do's and dont's and webcast on how to protect networks from the global ransomware attack.

According to VNCERT, this is a very unsafe ransomware, which can steal information and encrypt the entire server system.

The spread of WannaCry ransomware has been wreaking havoc across the world since May 12, and several Vietnamese businesses and agencies are advised to take cautions.

Microsoft released security patches for the ransomware on Friday.

In its postmortem of last Friday's wide-ranging ransomware attack that targeted Windows systems, Microsoft put part of the blame on the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

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"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call", Smith wrote while also noting how "cybersecurity has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers".

Shadow Brokers's identity still remains a mystery, albeit security experts think the group could be tied to the Russian government. However, this is a conservative estimate, as the malware's ransom demands start at $300, but they increase to $400 after two hours, then $500, and, finally $600.

Over the weekend a cyber attack known as "WannaCry" infected hundreds of computers all over the world with ransomware (malware which encrypts your data until you pay a ransom, usually in Bitcoin).

When Microsoft sells software it does so through a licensing agreement that states the company is not liable for any security breaches, said Michael Scott, a professor at Southwestern Law School.

Then there's the USA government, whose Windows hacking tools were leaked to the internet and got into the hands of cybercriminals. We are quite anxious about the recent attacks.

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Microsoft should do everything it can to move users on to newer, safer software. Users who are vulnerable to attack use older versions of Windows, including Windows XP that the company no longer supports.

Researchers are keen to point out that more investigation is needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn. Activating the domain worked as a kill switch for the malware.

The state-run People's Daily compared the cyber attack to the terrorist hacking depicted in the USA film "Die Hard 4", warning that China's role in global trade and internet connectivity opened it to increased risks from overseas. As a result of the NSA compromise, Microsoft released a patch in March 2017 to address this vulnerability, though many companies have not installed the patch. Morey Haber, vice president of technology, BeyondTrust has the following advice for such users, "For organizations running Windows XP download the end of life exception patch from Microsoft and apply it immediately".

"Hopefully people are learning how important it is to apply these patches", said Darien Huss, a senior security research engineer for cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, who helped stem the reach of the weekend attack.

"Whether or not you think the US government should be spending a fortune developing such cyber-weapons, surely it is obvious that the weapons they develop should be properly secured", said Phillip Hallam-Baker, principal scientist for New Jersey-based cybersecurity firm Comodo, in an emailed statement.

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Pirated Windows led to WannaCry's spread in China and Russia