Security experts find clues to ransomware worm's lingering risks

Financial Tribune reported two days ago some 200 computers in the country were infected by the so-called "ransomware" software. The virus used a hacking tool stolen and developed by the NSA called "Eternal Blue", which gives them access to all computers using Microsoft Windows.

The attack held users hostage by freezing their computers, popping up a red screen with the words, "Oops, your files have been encrypted!" and demanding money through online bitcoin payment — $300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.

Who is to blame for the WannaCry ransomware attack and what can we learn from it?

WannaCry ransomware attack is not affecting devices with Apple's MacOS or those running Linux-based operating systems.

"Most of the Indian organisations are still vulnerable to the attacks since the sophistication of these cyber threats is going up and many of Indian organisations including private and public sector still use outdated operating systems which make it easy for the cyber attackers to compromise the systems", he added. "At some point, organizations which don't update or patch their software even in the face of a steady stream of security threats can't expect their suppliers to fix things for them". That prompted the company to issue another patch on Friday for older and unsupported operating systems such as Windows XP, allowing users to secure their systems without requiring an upgrade to the latest operating software. By that time, Microsoft had discovered the bug on its own and issued a security update, but many users with older versions of Windows no longer receive such updates. Clearly, their lack of responsibility caused their patients to suffer, and unfairly so.

Those hit by WannaCry also failed to heed warnings past year from Microsoft to disable a file sharing feature in Windows known as SMB, which a covert hacker group calling itself Shadow Brokers had claimed was used by NSA intelligence operatives to sneak into Windows PCs.

WannaCry's worm-like capacity to infect other computers on the same network with no human intervention appear tailored to Windows 7, said Paul Pratley, head of investigations & incident response at United Kingdom consulting firm MWR InfoSecurity. ".@NSAGov's choices risked permitting low-skill criminals launch government-scale attacks, and then it happened", Snowden tweeted on Saturday. "They need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world".

Russia's largest bank Sberbank said late last week it had been attacked by a virus attack but that viruses had not got into its systems. The extensive damage done during the course of the hack shows the importance of addressing security flaws and creating the policy to prevent such exploitation in the future.

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