Monday, 20 November, 2017

Don't Click: What Is the 'Ransomware' WannaCry Worm?

Security Agency headquarters building in Fort Meade Maryland USA Security Agency headquarters building in Fort Meade Maryland USA
Kayla Schwartz | 16 May, 2017, 11:23

Call it blackmail, extortion or anything you like, but there's no way you can get back your data without paying the ransom.

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.

For all the worldwide chaos they have caused, the ransomware attack's perpetrators have reportedly made little more than less than $70,000, according to Tom Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.

The scope of the attacks was not immediately clear, but some analysts reported that dozens of countries had been affected, with the malware linked to attacks on hospitals in Britain as well as the Spanish telecom giant Telefonica and the USA delivery firm FedEx.

The ransomware, called WannaCry, locked down all the files on an infected computer and asked the computer's administrator to pay in order to regain control of them.

So far, nobody knows precisely who was behind the attack. "They're just a huge organisation which has had insufficient investment in computer security over the years".

The WannaCry worm has affected more than 200,000 Windows computers around the world since Friday, disrupting auto factories, global shipper FedEx Corp and Britain's National Health Service, among others.

Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan had taken the heaviest casualties.

High-profile victims include hospitals in Britain, the Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, French carmaker Renault, US package delivery company FedEx, Russia's interior ministry and the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

Putin says world needs to talk to North Korea not threaten it
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (c.) sits with members of his military on May 14, the day of the nation's latest missile launch. . North Korea on Monday said the rocket was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

"Some of our customers are running versions of Windows that no longer receive mainstream support".

Microsoft, however, wasn't impressed with the latest attack.

Microsoft's top lawyer is laying some of the blame for Friday's massive cyberattack at the feet of the US government.

When the National Security Agency lost control of the software behind the WannaCry cyberattack, it was like "the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Microsoft President Brad Smith says, in a message about the malicious software that has created havoc on computer networks in more than 150 countries since Friday. Everything remains secretive until hackers hacked the NSA.

It was reported that hackers known as The Shadow Brokers claimed in April to have stolen the NSA tools and released them online.

But those attacks - blamed on Russian Federation, which has repeatedly denied them - followed an entirely different modus operandi involving penetrating the accounts of individuals and political organisations and then releasing hacked material online.

Officials across the globe scrambled over the weekend to catch the culprits behind a massive ransomware worm that disrupted operations at vehicle factories, hospitals, shops and schools, while Microsoft on Sunday pinned blame on the USA government for not disclosing more software vulnerabilities. "We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world". Once inside an organization's network, the malware behind the attack spread rapidly using this vulnerability. "Upon running the sample in my analysis environment I instantly noticed it queried an unregistered domain, which I promptly registered".

Unfortunately, the outbreak being stopped is only temporarily.

He said if a new variant without a "kill switch" popped up, organisations would be on their own to prevent it from taking over their computers. If the ransom is not paid in three days, the ransom amount increases to $600 and threatens the user to wipe out all the data.

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