Hi-Tech

What to do to protect your computer and its data from malware

What to do to protect your computer and its data from malware

Wanna Cry has used an exploit - a piece of bug in the software - to take advantage of Microsoft Windows and take control of thousands of systems, and lock files.

But Opposition parties have criticised the government, saying they had cut funding to the NHS IT budget and a contract to protect computer systems was not renewed after 2015.

WannaCry takes advantage of a vulnerability discovered by the NSA and made public by hackers in April. However, it is understood that a few systems of the police department in Andhra Pradesh were impacted.

According to MeitY, it has activated a "preparedness and response mechanism" by instructing CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team) to gather "all the information of the reported ransomware".

In the aftermath of the attack, Microsoft has pointed fingers at the USA for its role in the spread of the malware, while security experts warn that a more lethal version of the virus could be unleashed on computers this week. Organizations are being warned to upgrade to newer systems for safety.

MediaNama has reached out to a significant cross-section of government organisations and financial institutions to find out whether they were affected. The cyberattack has taken down health services in the United Kingdom and telecom network in Spain and also govt related systems in Russian Federation.




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. He adds that governments should report vulnerabilities like the one at the center of the WannaCry attack.

In a blog post addressing the attacks, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer Brad Smith pointed out that cybersecurity has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers.

The computing giant said software vulnerabilities hoarded by governments had caused "widespread damage", the BBC reported. Smith also compared the NSA losing control of the software to "the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

An analysis by The Register revealed that the patches weren't new, though, and had been around since February 2017. The program encrypts most of the host system's files and demands a $300 payment in anonymous virtual currency Bitcoin to trigger decryption. This includes Windows 8 and Windows XP, which the majority of NHS England trusts are using.

Microsoft released patches for these versions of Windows, despite them having reached end-of-life. However, he did warn that following the patching advice from Microsoft and the Federal Bureau of Investigation should be a top priority to stop the spread, which has hit a number of large-profile companies, including FedEx.


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