Tuesday, 17 October, 2017

French researchers find last-ditch cure to unlock WannaCry files

The ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock French researchers find last-ditch cure to unlock WannaCry files
Kayla Schwartz | 19 May, 2017, 18:16

Nevertheless, victims of WannaCry can now bank on a third-party decrypting tool called "Wannakey", which enables affected users to decrypt or patch the ransomware attack on Windows.

Guinet, a security researcher at Paris-based Quarks Lab, published the basic technique for decrypting WannaCry files on Thursday, which Delpy then figured out how to turn into a practical tool to salvage files.

There are several caveats, though.

WannaCry - also known as WannaCrypt and Wanna Decryptor - made headaches for system administrators the world over this past weekend when it exploited a vulnerability in all Windows operating systems bar a fully up-to-date Windows 10 to infect hundreds of thousands of machines and encrypt their files.

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The software works by searching for the prime numbers the ransomware uses to create the key. Wannakey, Wanafork and Wanadecrypt are all available to download from GitHub. Unfortunately, the tool will only work on those affected computer that haven't been rebooted after the attack or for computers with associated memory that hasn't been allocated and erased by user or by some other process, added Guinet. 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". "That's what this software tries to achieve", wrote Guinet.

A free tool which can undo the damage caused by the WannaCry ransomware on some computers is now available.

The tool author points out that although the Windows Crypto API has been used properly by the ransomware attackers and this anomaly seems to be exclusive to Windows XP.

So WannaCrypt can lock up Windows XP files, but XP PCs were not vulnerable to the NSA's worm-like spreading mechanism, which exploited a flaw in Microsoft's network file-sharing protocol, SMB. Note: The software is now tested and known to work fine with Windows XP only. Although 90 percent of NHS organizations still have Windows XP on some machines, only five percent of all NHS machines run Windows XP.

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