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

The Next Ransomware Attack Will Be Worse Than WannaCry

The Next Ransomware Attack Will Be Worse Than WannaCry

As the worm, known as WannaCry, has been contained, more free time has opened up in which to argue and assign blame beyond the anonymous hackers who used leaked NSA code to assemble the virus, and whatever party chose to turn it into ransomware. Those include a known and highly risky security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and malware created to spread quickly once inside university, business and government networks.

While the NSA has not commented on either the WannaCrypt attack or Microsoft's response, Tom Bossert, President Trump's Homeland Security adviser, said at Monday's daily White House press briefing that the infection rate has been relatively low in the United States compared to other countries, and that no federal systems have been compromised.

Few people have paid the ransom - $300 in bitcoin digital currency, rising to $600 after a period of time - demanded by the malware, Europol spokesman Jan Op Gen Oorth told The Associated Press. The DoublePulsar portion of the code then installs a backdoor into affected computer systems, allowing for remote control of the personal computers.

Lawrence Abrams, a New York-based blogger who runs BleepingComputer.com, says many organizations don't install security upgrades because they're anxious about triggering bugs, or they can't afford the downtime.

Microsoft released a patch for the flaw in March after hackers stole the exploit from the NSA.

Moreover, the malware code used in the attack has its origins in a cyberweapon that was stolen last summer from the National Security Agency by a mysterious group calling itself the "Shadow Brokers".

The banks predicts the attack will prompt folks to upgrade, which is a good thing for Microsoft because it will increase the number of new Office 360 Commercial subscriptions.

What versions of Windows are affected?

The tools behind the attack originated within the NSA. He added, "Ransomware is a programme that gets into your computer only by downloading and it will ask you to pay ransom in Bitcoins". Moreover, in addition to Symantec, researchers at Google and Kaspersky Lab confirmed the coding similarities, the Times reports. It also highlights the need to continually educate users about best practices to keep their data safe.

FedEx, French automaker Renault and Spanish telecommunications firm Telefonica are among those attacked.

Microsoft released security patches for the ransomware on Friday.

The impact of WannaCry ransomware attack has been limited to five or six isolated instances so far and there are no reports of any substantial disruption to India's IT backbone, the government said today. Over the weekend, Microsoft rolled out a patch for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 8. Microsoft surely wants to continue to sell successive versions of Windows every several years and gradually forget about its earlier attempts-it's the business they're in.

Microsoft pointed that, "The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call".

"This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem", Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said in a blog post on Sunday, comparing the recent leaks of NSA and Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools to, in the real world, the theft of cruise missiles.

Smith says cyberweapons require a new approach, and governments must "consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".

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