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

Phone scam claiming to provide WannaCry ransomware supports

In the US, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said in a blog post that the cyber attack should be treated by governments as a "wake-up call".

While it is deeply concerning that some 1,500 computers in the Health Service Executive are estimated to be running unsupported Windows XP software, it is perhaps not surprising that our underfunded health service should be in this position. More than 50% of about 3,200 ATMs in the city were shut down, as banks tried to upgrade their systems.Banks said they were likely to resume operations over the next few days. Meanwhile, as Microsoft argued, the government's practice of stockpiling exploits and keeping them secret makes it all the more risky when they're leaked.

Microsoft should know that there are people, small businesses, schools and hospitals that still use older version of Windows, such as XP (which came out in 2001). It asked for a ransom payment of $300 in bitcoin to unlock the computer.

Tehan urged businesses to visit the website of the ACSC or phone (1300 CYBER1) for more information.

With global security reports counting India amongst the worst affected countries, public and private agencies have been working overtime to firewall their systems from any possible attack.

Although those computers won't have their data ransomed, it's not hard to create a new variant (or 10) that may infect at a similar rate using kill switches that haven't been activated - if they include kill switches at all.

If you're facing a ransom demand and locked out of your files, law enforcement and cybersecurity experts discourage paying ransoms because it gives incentives to hackers and pays for their future attacks.

Vu Ngoc Son, deputy head of the anti-malware department of Bkav Corporation, the largest internet security firm in Vietnam, said that the WannaCry ransomware's behaviour is "not new", but he believes that the use of this ransomware will not really ease up as "it can directly earn large profits for hackers". WannaCry is ransomware - malicious software that encrypts people's data, then demands payment in exchange for decryption.

The attack, Smith says, "represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today - nation-state action and organized criminal action".

On Monday, private-sector sleuths found a clue about potentially who's responsible for the WannaCry attack. If your computer is infected by WannaCry, experts agree the best solution is to wipe it clean and restore it from a recent backup.

India is also coordinating with global agencies, cleaning up the malware and conducting cyber drill regularly to foil possible cyber attacks.

Still, "My answer is, never pay the ransom", Abrams said.

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