Science

Ransomware attack: Who's been hit

Ransomware attack: Who's been hit

At least 30 computers have been reportedly affected by ransomware in Bangladesh.

It was a stress-filled weekend for many IT workers this past weekend as the WannaCry ransomware attack spread, crippling Windows systems worldwide.

The cyber experts have warned of a huge risk in near future as most institutions and individuals in Bangladesh use pirated software. "Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Windows XP itself is unsupported", Microsoft had said.

Its creators used a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows operating system, and an exploit developed by the NSA and leaked by a group called Shadow Brokers in April, to create malware that also had a worm element and spread on its own to vulnerable machines.

Prabir Sarkar, CEO of OfficeExtract, a local distributor of Kaspersky Lab, said, "We have so far received complaints from five types of medium enterprises in the country".

Only a small number of the more than 200,000 estimated victims of the WannCry ransomware attack seemed to have paid the demand based on the publicly available bitcoin accounts where they are instructed to make their payments.

A massive cyberattack known as WannaCry wreaked havoc all over the world this past weekend, and although this particular ransomware is already dying out, new ones may be cropping up.

However India has said that its vital computer systems largely escaped unscathed because the state organisation that manages nearly all government websites installed patches to immunise its Windows systems. The first victims who did not pay the $300 ransom are now facing a demand of $600. He said that especially in large organizations, patching can be slow and cumbersome, and while it needs to be done, more focus on segmentation of networks can prioritize and speed up the patching process.




John Stephens with Luminant Digital Security said it's important that people and organizations regularly back up data to protect themselves in the event of an attack. If you have a backup, there's no need to pay ransom for your data.

But with Microsoft making an exception this time and providing the patch free to XP users, it may come under pressure to do the same next time it issues a critical security update.

Microsoft said it had released a Windows security update in March to tackle the problem involved in the latest attack, but many users were yet to run it. You can also specify the schedule that Windows follows to install updates on your computer.

Keep all the software on your computer up-to-date.

For individuals, Goldstuck said: "You can not delay software updates to save data".

Responding to the incident, the company's president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, criticized the USA government's weaponizing of computer vulnerabilities, the leak of which enabled this attack, and the dangers of not informing tech companies about them.

Continually train and remind employees and network users to be aware of and on the lookout for suspicious emails and to "think before they click" on any attachments.

President Trump's homeland security adviser Tom Bossert told "Good Morning America" that the unprecedented global cyberattack sends an "urgent call for collective action" by governments throughout the world.


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