Monday, 29 May, 2017

Hackers behind stolen NSA tool for WannaCry: More leaks coming

Microsoft's top lawyer has called on govts around the world to treat the cyber attack as a 'wake-up call' What is ransomware and how do I protect my PC from WannaCry?
Kayla Schwartz | 19 May, 2017, 16:39

In a statement Microsoft also fiercely criticized governments for stockpiling software vulnerabilities, instead of informing the software company of issues so that customers can be protected.

Microsoft responded to the WannaCrypt (WannaCry) ransomware attack that hit computer systems around the world Friday by emphasizing the need for taking precautions to protect against attack and urging governments to stop hoarding exploits for security vulnerabilities.

"This is an emerging pattern in 2017", continued Smith.

"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", Smith griped.

The patch to fix the Microsoft networking vulnerability the ransomware used to break into computers, though, was sent out by the software giant in February, Forbes said. In a scathing statement over the weekend, he said an equivalent scenario in conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. Among the organizations hit were FedEx in the United States, the Spanish telecom giant Telefónica, the French automaker Renault, Nissan's UK vehicle plant, universities in China, Germany's Deutsche Bahn federal railway system.

"This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem", Smith said.

Jonathan Sander, chief technology officer for STEALTHbits Technologies, called WannaCry "a Frankenstein's monster of vulnerabilities with patches and exploits that were stolen from the NSA and published for all to see". An anonymous group called Shadow Brokers released that malware, called "WannaCrypt", onto the internet. Microsoft said last month that the vulnerabilities that were exploited had been patched.

Then, users should always keep their system up-to-date.

Speeding Car Crashes Into Pedestrians In New York's Times Square, Multiple Injuries
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that President Donald Trump was "made aware of the situation". New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed that there was no indication the incident was an act of terror.

WannaCry ransomware affected individuals and businesses using Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 8 devices in about 100 countries.

Smith and others have long advocated that the world's governments need to pledge not to engage in cyberattacks that target civilian infrastructure.

WannaCry is a type of ransomware - a computer virus that locks down a computer and allows access only once a ransom is paid to the hacker.

This weekend, an extensive attack targeted around 150 countries and hit users with ransomware scams.

It threatens to delete files within seven days if no payment is made. And the software is already inspiring imitators, as the Bleeping Computer site reports.

"There is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems".

However, proof positive of just how bad the spread of "WannaCry" has been, the company did something it hasn't done in years: released a security patch for Windows XP.

BitSight's research showed that 67% of 160,000 affected computers were Windows 7 users, whereas the same operating system is used by less than half of global PC users.

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