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Ransomware attack puts renewed focus on cybersecurity

19 May 2017

It effectively takes the computer hostage and demands a $300 ransom, to be paid in 72 hours with bitcoin.

The commission had advised that computer users should among other things, "obtain software patch released by Microsoft in March 2017 to fix the virus as well as plan scheduled penetration tests on the networks and systems to ensure protection and availability at all times".

"As software has become ever more complex, interdependent and interconnected, our reputation as a company has in turn become more vulnerable", Gates wrote in an email to employees identifying trustworthy computing as Microsoft's top priority. Microsoft is pointing the finger at the USA government, while some experts say the software giant is accountable too.

For some enterprises, by the time they transition from legacy tech to modern systems, the "new" tech is already outdated.

Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at Gartner, agreed that the government is "is negligent not doing a better job protecting companies", but added that it's not like "you can stop the US government from developing cybertools" that then work as intended.

Analyzing the impact of the worldwide cyber attack
He said the NHS was particularly vulnerable as it is such a large organisation and the virus only needed "one point of entry". It's not uncommon for them to use aliases, either to protect themselves from retaliatory attacks or for privacy.

"The high price highlights the quandary the world's biggest software company faces as it tries to force customers to move to newer and more secure software", it said.

Last Friday, the company's British-based 22-year-old data breach research chief, Marcus Hutchins, created a "kill-switch", which security experts have widely hailed as the decisive step in halting the ransomware's rapid spread around the globe.

The UK's signals intelligence agency GCHQ is facing calls to reveal whether it had advance notice of the security vulnerability used by hackers last week to spread a cyberattack across NHS systems that led to cancelled operations, diverted ambulances, and major incident protocols being declared.

Experts are suspecting that the next wave of attacks will be subjected to the banking sector.

"There will be much larger attacks, damage of which will also be way more serious".

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This includes whitelisting certain websites and software so only approved programs can run on a computer, or disabling administrative privileges on a company's machines so that only the IT department can download programs.

You convert your dollars to bitcoins, - the crooks are happy to explain how to do that and how to pay them, - and then maybe, if there is really honor among thieves, you might just get your files back.

"It's not rocket science", Litan said. Asked what the company is doing to prevent such exploitations, he cited "basic IT security blocking and tackling".

The name Ransomware suggests, The WannaCrypt0r 2.0 bug encoded all the information from the computer, and lock down the pc and requested that the client pays the said money by a message on the screen.

Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft's flagship operating system franchise, accounts for another 15 percent, while older versions of Windows including 8.1, 8, XP and Vista, account for the remainder, BitSight estimated. If they caught, that is.

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