Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Microsoft's plans to cut data costs for Windows updates in South Africa

Kayla Schwartz | 26 May, 2017, 07:31

It now works on Windows 7, XP and 2003.

The cyber security provider warned against using the means of decryption offered on the Internet or received in emails, as WannaCry's encryption algorithm cannot be decoded with existing methods, which, worse still, may cause even greater harm to the infected computer and others connected to it, thus accelerating the propagation.

At present, network security companies, including Kaspersky, are developing more effective means of fighting the WannaCry virus and decoding maliciously encrypted files, and relevant information will be released in a timely manner, Kaspersky said.

If you have not updated your Windows machine or are unsure of how to proceed, check out our guide on ways to protect yourself against WannaCry.

Once news broke of the leak, Microsoft released a patch for older systems like XP and Server 2003, but only to those corporate customers who had paid Microsoft for continued software support. The weakness was initially found by the National Security Agency (NSA) to keep an eye on users.

In response to this report, in a statement, a Microsoft representative told CNet: "Recognizing that for a variety of business reasons, companies sometimes choose not to upgrade even after 10 or 15 years, Microsoft offers custom support agreements as a stopgap measure". The rest - Britain's NHS included - were left undefended until after the attack, the severity of which prompted Microsoft to make update patches available on its website for broad download. It is also possible that there are other variations of this software without the kill switch built into them that can continue to spread.

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"We knew we must go fast because, as time passes, there is less chance to recover", said Delpy, adding that they've named the tool "wanakiwi".

While there is no "single" person to blame for the WannaCry ransomware attack, it can be agreed that governments and organizations could have protected themselves a little better.

Many organisations seem to have been caught out because they failed to apply a patch, issued by Microsoft in March. that blocked the vulnerability which WannaCry exploited.

Others, including The Guardian, have pointed out that Microsoft wasn't blameless in this situation either.

A SpiceWorks survey said that Windows 7 was the most popular Windows OS in terms of both market share and penetration, making it a clear victim for an attack like WannaCry. Several commenters on the Guardian's online coverage had the same sentiment: "You either pay the criminals, or you pay Microsoft".

More modern operating systems - those now being supported by Microsoft - were able to download a critical security patch released on the 14 March, immunising their computers against WannaCry.

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