Hi-Tech

Things to Know About the 'WannaCry' Ransomware Attack

Things to Know About the 'WannaCry' Ransomware Attack

The WannaCry attack took over computer systems, caused them to freeze, and displayed the message, "Oops, your files have been encrypted!"

The virus exploits a flaw in a version of Microsoft Windows first identified by U.S. intelligence.

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.

"As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems", BBC quoted Smith as saying.

The breach was first reported at Britain's National Health Service.

On Monday, a Microsoft spokesman declined to comment beyond Smith's post.

"They have been working I know through the night nearly to make sure patches are in place to make sure that hopefully the NHS services can get back to normal", he told BBC radio.

The government is not legally bound to notify at-risk companies.

"People have extremely short memories when it comes to this", said Jan Dawson, an analyst with Jackdaw Research.




Since then, the company has poured billions of dollars into security initiatives, employing more than 3,500 engineers dedicated to security.

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.

Yet security flaws in older editions of Windows persist.

"The very nature of this particular malware, this sort of ransomware attack, is very potent because unlike more routine ones this one has used a sort of worm to exploit the operating system and bolted on a ransomware so that it spread incredibly quickly in hours not weeks or days", Wallace explained.

Microsoft released patches for these versions of Windows, despite them having reached end-of-life.

"WannaCry's propagation in those countries illustrate the dangers of using bootlegged software", Engadget wrote. "The money they made from these customers hasn't expired; neither has their responsibility to fix defects".

"We weren't expecting to see it but there has been a slight decline in the number of computers affected in Europe", Europol said.

"I can understand why they issued an emergency patch for XP after WannaCry was found, but in general, we should just let XP die", Hypponen said.

The malware behind WannaCry was nicked from the NSA in April.


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