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WannaCry Ransomware Attack Linked to North Korea, Cybersecurity Experts Say

20 May 2017

The WannaCry attack, which uses malware stolen from a National Security Agency cyberweapon, underscores the need for businesses of all sizes, but small businesses in particular, to patch their vulnerabilities and make sure that their data is adequately backed up and protected. All machine running the version of Windows operating system before windows 10 without MS17 -010 security patch are prone to this ransomware attack. The Ransomware virus had stopped auto factories, hospitals, shops and schools in over 75 countries."The Ransomware virus is a virus that affects computer systems and locks up the files on your computer and encrypts them in a way that you can not access them anymore", said Harinder Singh Sekhon, in-charge, cyber cell.He added, "Ransomware is a programme that gets into your computer only by downloading and it will ask you to pay ransom in Bitcoins". Then Ransomware leverages flaws in the computer's operating system to force it to run Ransomware code.

"Technology companies owe their customers a reliable process for patching security vulnerabilities", he said.

Microsoft president and legal officer Brad Smith blamed the NSA's practice of developing hacking methods to use against the USA government's own enemies.

Currently, there is no permanent fix that could end the wrath of this ransomware, but here are a few pointers that could help you in protecting your Windows PC if it has not been attacked yet.

If North Korea, believed to be training cyberwarriors at schools, is indeed responsible for the latest attack, Choi said the world should stop underestimating its capabilities and work together to think of a new way to respond to cyber threats, such as having China pull the plug on North Korea's internet. With this attack, Abrams recommends trying to recover the "shadow volume" copies some versions of Windows have.

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Once malicious software is in the wild, it is commonly reused by hacking groups, especially nation-states trying to leave the fingerprints of another country.

The tools behind the attack originated within the NSA. Moreover, in addition to Symantec, researchers at Google and Kaspersky Lab confirmed the coding similarities, the Times reports.

If your device or network is infected by WannaCry or other ransomware, do not automatically pay the ransom.

The Finnish computer security firm F-Secure called the problem spreading around the world "the biggest ransomware outbreak in history".

Spanish firm Telefonica, French automaker Renault, the US -based delivery service FedEx and the German railway Deutsche Bahn were among those affected. In the UK's National Health Service, which was particularly badly hit, at least 47 organisations were affected.

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However, the authors of the "WannaCry" ransomware attack told their victims the amount they must pay would double if they did not comply within three days of the original infection - by Monday, in most cases.

Microsoft released security patches for the ransomware on Friday.

In a blog post, Microsoft admonished governments around the world for keeping software vulnerabilities to themselves, instead of reporting them to the developers. Even though Microsoft no longer provides updates for Windows XP, it is still widely used in Europe and Asia.

Smith said that Microsoft proposed in February a new "Digital Geneva Convention" that would include a new requirement for governments to report software vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell or exploit them.

Smith says cyberweapons require a new approach, and governments must "consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".

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WannaCry Ransomware Attack Linked to North Korea, Cybersecurity Experts Say