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

Virus attack is a wake-up call for business

Virus attack is a wake-up call for business

As we detailed thoroughly on Monday, WannaCry is a risky trojan virus that infects Windows computers, encrypting almost all data in the process.

Monday marked the fourth day a cyber attack known as "WannaCry" held hostage hundreds of thousands of computers all over the world with the intent of collecting money in exchange for retrieving files and data that become locked and inaccessible, supposedly unless a ransom is paid.

Meanwhile Europol's chief told the BBC the ransomware was created to allow "infection of one computer to quickly spread across the networks", adding: "That's why we're seeing these numbers increasing all the time".

The attack occurred after the USA's National Security Agency discovered a vulnerability in Microsoft's software called EternalBlue. The tool was one of many linked to the NSA that were leaked online past year, then finally decrypted in April for use by anyone with the requisite coding skills.

India's cyber security unit CERT-In today said it has not received any formal report of cyber attack on India's vital networks by the crippling global ransomware, ' WannaCry'. Smith says there's a real risk that criminals will steal them. But experts also warn that WannaCry's developers may be working on other versions that won't be easy to disable. "We have been in touch with Microsoft and others.even they have not got any reports", Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), director general, Sanjay Bahl told PTI. If someone had lost a nuclear weapon, heads would have rolled. It's about what intelligence agencies, like the CIA and the NSA, need to do.

Many people in fact believe someone at NSA must have tipped Microsoft that the files had been stolen, which is how it knew it needed to push out that particular patch, said Ryan Kalember of Proofpoint, a Sunnyvale, Calif. -based security firm whose researchers were instrumental in fighting the the WannaCry attack.

"This is an emerging pattern in 2017", he continued. If you're serious about this "wake-up call", Microsoft, use your dominant market position to find better ways of tackling the security problem.

Then there's the US government, whose Windows hacking tools were leaked to the internet and got into the hands of cybercriminals.

Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at Gartner, agreed that the government is "is negligent not doing a better job protecting companies", but added that it's not like "you can stop the US government from developing cybertools" that then work as intended.

Smith said he hopes that the recent attack renews determination for more urgent collective action between the technology sector, customers, and governments against cyber attacks.

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