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

Chinese media blame the U.S. for WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack

Nonetheless, Bossert added that "we may still see a significant impact on additional networks as these malware attacks morph and change". The attack is believed to have been carried out using tools that were stolen from the United States security agency NSA, which had been stockpiling on a number of vulnerabilities around Windows OS, MacOS, etc. And many computer networks, particularly those in less developed parts of the world, still use an older version of Microsoft software, Windows XP, that the company no longer updates. About 30 per cent of all antivirus systems reportedly detected and destroyed the ransomware on time. The government of North Korea has been pointed to as a possible culprit. Most of the cyber attacks were reported from Taiwan and the countries that were affected by it include Russia, India, Spain, Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, the U.S., China, Spain, and Italy. Noida cyber cell asked its residents to avoid clicking on any mail from unknown sources to prevent attacks from WannaCry Ransomware. People probably downloaded it from e-mail and allowed it to spread. Unfortunately, far too few people even bother.

It's hard not to engage in a bit of victim-blaming in this situation, especially because security experts say the attacks could have been prevented. "It is therefore absolutely imperative that any organization that believes they may be affected follows and implements this guidance".

On the worldwide governmental cooperation level, the Group of Seven (G7) has urged the world to step up cooperation to combat hacking activities and take immediate actions to plug security loopholes in global financial system.

But many users who were infected by WannaCry did not install it. In this case, the attackers are asking for at least $300 in bitcoins for each computer affected by the attack. While security services need to enjoy the power to access everybody's computers so as to avert/investigate crime, they also have a responsibility to ensure that such technology is isolated securely so that it does not get into the wrong hands. Brad Smith, Microsoft's top lawyer, criticized USA intelligence agencies for "stockpiling" software code that can be used by hackers. "There are actually legitimate reasons to wait to patch your systems".

The WannaCry ransomware targets Windows computers, particularly those running Windows XP, an aging operating system that Microsoft largely stopped supporting in 2014. "I don't think waiting two months is reasonable".

Kaspersky Labs's Global Research and Analysis team points out that WannaCry starts with a remote code execution in Microsoft Windows, taking advantage of a vulnerability dubbed "EternalBlue".

Although the US appears to have dodged a bullet, at least for now, going forward Riggi asserts that overall the healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable to ransomware and is a high-priority target for cybercriminals because of the high value of health data.

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