Saturday, 18 November, 2017

The Next Ransomware Attack Will Be Worse Than WannaCry

Kayla Schwartz | 19 May, 2017, 18:06

While Microsoft complained about the NSA stockpiling cyber weapons, it has reportedly stockpiled patches, The Register reported.

While earlier this week the company's president and chief legal officer Brad Smith had reportedly confirmed that the attack had used elements stolen from the NSA, the United States government has not given any direct comments in the matter till date. This ransomware attack, which demands users shell out $300 to $600 worth of Bitcoins to regain access to their systems, spread across Asia after rocking Europe this weekend. Further threats included the files being permanently deleted if the user did not pay up, or the amount tripling if not paid within three days.

The attack has been very severe in some regions that some countries need much time to come back to the normal track. The hackers responsible are demanding that the computer-owners pay them money to release their data. The report warned that ransomware posed one of the most significant threats facing organizations.

Many security experts speculate that the attack could be executed by hackers that are affiliated with a particular government, marking a critical juncture in the cybersecurity era: it could go down as the first time a digital weapon developed by the USA government had been stolen by global cybercriminals and unleashed against doctors, hospitals, patients, businesses, government agencies, and ordinary citizens alike.

On Friday, businesses, governments and the UK's National Health Service were left scrambling in the wake of a massive ransomware attack.

Since increasing numbers of systems running older versions of Windows were affected, Microsoft had chose to push an emergency patch for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, urging users to deploy the patch as soon as possible to limit the impact of WannaCry.

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"Not only is it critical to keep anti-virus software updated, but be sure to also update your operating system and other software".

Microsoft had released in March a patch to fix the flaw exploited this week, but many computers, particularly older systems or devices that hadn't been updated, remained vulnerable. Clearly, their lack of responsibility caused their patients to suffer, and unfairly so. Most of the leaked exploits are said to use zero-day vulnerabilities, previously unknown software exploits used by hackers before the software makers are aware of them.

The stolen exploits were reported earlier this year, and although Microsoft created a patch to address the vulnerability, many computers were not patched, leading to them being susceptible to the hack.

At least 30 computers have been reportedly affected by ransomware in Bangladesh.

He highlighted that the government had invested £50 million in supporting NHS IT networks during its last strategic defense and security review, and insisted that individual trusts were well-equipped to ensure they could protect themselves against cyber-attack.

If you're serious about this "wake-up call", Microsoft, use your dominant market position to find better ways of tackling the security problem.

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