Sunday, 24 September, 2017

Ransomware threat: Centre activates mechanism to prevent 'Wannacry' cyber attack

Frank Williams | 19 May, 2017, 12:27

The program then demands a ransom of $300 or more for a key to unlock the victim's files.

The WannaCry ransomware is being spread through a weakness in Microsoft Windows that was originally exploited by the US National Security Agency (NSA) as part of their arsenal of cyberweapons in a tool called "Eternal Blue".

Former NSA-contactor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden was more succinct, tweeting: "Despite warnings, @NSAGov built unsafe attack tools that could target Western software".

Because numerous computers impacted run older Windows systems like XP, Microsoft issued a rare patch for XP, which it had stopped updating more than three years ago.

Michael Mitchell, spokesman for Oreo cookie maker Mondelez International, said the company is not aware of any incidents from the attack, though it did alert employees. At the same time our critical infrastructure is increasingly dependent on the internet.

Global malware Wannacry has so far infected more than 40,000 computers in India. "Whether you are an individual learner, or an employer or manager with an organisation of team of staff to protect, this free course will be of help to you in spreading awareness on how to protect against this malicious threat".

Fortunately, Friday's ransomware attack may have been contained.

Darien Huss, a 28-year-old research engineer who helped MalwareTech, agreed the threat was far from over.

The original attack lost momentum late on Friday after a security researcher inadvertently took control of a server connected to the outbreak, which crippled a feature that caused the malware to rapidly spread across infected networks. A statement from the delivery company Friday said its Windows-based systems were "experiencing interference" due to malware and that it was trying to fix the issue as quickly as possible.

Olynyk guides Celtics to Game 7 win over Wizards
They'll be looking for a similar outcome after Game 1, as they look maintain their status as the Eastern Conference's top dog. Bradley Beal led the Wizards , playing their first Game 7 since 1979, with 38 points - including 24 in the second half.

Fifty-four worldwide trade groups signed a letter Monday calling on China to reconsider the law, arguing that it would create significant obstacles for foreign businesses. "That people are attempting to lay blame on the company says volumes about them, and about the curious view that some have of software vendors in general and Microsoft in particular".

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 United States of America government from developing cybertools" that then work as intended.

Using antivirus software will at least protect you from the most basic, well-known viruses by scanning your system against the known fingerprints of these pests.

Back up computers. This doesn't stop a computer from being attack but effectively renders it ineffective because it is easy to re-install the system from a backup should it become locked by ransomware.

Basic protocol such as stressing that workers shouldn't click on questionable links or open suspicious attachments can save headaches. If you don't know, double check with the sender.

"Right now, just about every IT department has been working all weekend rolling this out", Dan Wire, spokesman at Fireeye Security, said.

"Clearly having the vulnerability be in Microsoft software was one of the key elements", said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer of McAfee, a security company in Santa Clara, California. While there's been limited public declaration (expect many are keeping quiet) that Australian users have been impacted on a large scale, it does speak to the lack of updating that's happening to connected systems.

Not only is it unclear what software is being stockpiled or how it is being protected, but there is no disclosure about whether - or how - the weapons are actually used.

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