Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Beware of the Recent Cyberattack and Protect Your Photo Archive

Beware of the Recent Cyberattack and Protect Your Photo Archive

Microsoft criticized governments for stockpiling secret exploits of computer systems, calling the ongoing attack" target="_blank">WannaCry ransomware attack a "wake-up call".

In the past few days, thousands of computers across the world have been locked up and users" files have been held at ransom due to a malware called "Ransomware' that takes over a computer's operating system. They demanded $300 in virtual currency Bitcoin for accessing user files.

Moreover, although Microsoft had provided free virus protection in March, numerous computers affected did not take advantage of this, leaving them vulnerable to hackers. If the NSA simply disclosed their software vulnerabilities to the software manufacturers instead of hiding it and creating malware, perhaps the WannaCry ransomware attack would not have happened, or at least would not have occurred on such a significant scale.

Users of older software, such as Windows XP, had to pay hefty fees for technical support, it added. Since then, the worm has spread to close to 200,000 PCs worldwide, affecting utility companies and health services including the UK's National Health Service (NHS). A 22-year old security researcher in the United Kingdom discovered a "kill-switch" to initially stop the spread of the attack. With the help of @Malware Technologies, most of the attack on Friday was contained. This person discovered that the unnamed online terrorists accidentally included a "kill switch" in their software that allowed owners of websites to stop the attack.

Nevertheless, experts know that the victory could be short-lived.

The ransomware called Wanna Decrypt, also known as WannaCry, encrypts files on the machine, effectively locking them. Staff said they would continue to monitor and update their systems as a precaution. It is the most high-profile cyber-attack.

F-Secure's chief research officer Mikko Hypponen said Russian Federation and India were particularly hard-hit because many there were still using Windows XP. In 2015, Microsoft got $9 million in a year from the Navy for continuing the Windows XP support.

The RBI has asked banks to follow the instructions of government organisation CERT-In on ransomware, which has impacted various IT networks in over 150 countries.

Nearly all the corporations and organisations are upgrading their firewalls.

It was not clear whether they might relate to new infections or whether the reports may have been made by businesses whose staff returned to work on Monday to find their systems previously infected.

Drawing a comparison with the global rules that apply to conventional weapons, Smith is urging governments to act more responsibly with what are basically cyber weapons.

Like this: