Sábado, 16 Diciembre, 2017

NSA Told Microsoft of Flaw Before Ransomware Attack

Ransomware cyber-attack a wake-up call Microsoft Ransomware cyber-attack a wake-up call Microsoft  15 May 2017- 8:45
Eleena Tovar | 19 May, 2017, 23:37

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world".

In fact, David Powner, director of IT at the Government Accountability Office, says some federal agencies pay programmers more to learn outdated languages, just to keep old systems functioning.

"The culprit was "#ransomware" known as WanaCryptOr 2.0, or WannaCry.

What is WannaCry Ransomware?

Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith blamed the NSA's practice of developing hacking methods to use against the government's enemies.

WannaCry flooded computers around the world with ransomware, locking up those networks until a specified amount was paid.

Nowadays, with storage drives' capacity increasing, thanks to the influx of data being stored, you are bound to have sensitive data present on the hard drive. It involves blocking someone's personal data on a computer and threatening to destroy or expose it if the person does not pay a ransom.

On Monday, private-sector sleuths found a clue about who might be responsible for the WannaCry attack.

Potentially, anyone who is connected to the internet can and will be affected by WannaCry.

The WannaCry virus targets Microsoft's widely used Windows operating system. And many computer networks, particularly those in less developed parts of the world, still use an older version of Microsoft software, Windows XP, that the company no longer updates.

Security experts believe the malware that spurred this global attack, called WannaCry, may have initially infected machines by getting people to download it through email.

The Thailand Computer Emergency Response Team (ThaiCERT) advises that computers can be shielded from malware in general and this ransomware in particular by ensuring that security settings are constantly updated, by shunning e-mail attachments from unknown sources and by never clicking on suspicious links in e-mail. But in this case, according to Kaspersky Lab, the shared code was removed from the versions of WannaCry that are now circulating, which reduces the likelihood of such an attempt at misdirection.

Why are hackers asking for ransom in Bitcoin?

It's not clear if the attack was meant to go this wide, Wheeler noted - the criminals themselves might be surprised at how successful they've been at spreading WannaCrypt. More than 200K PCs have been swayed with this malware. It looks like the hackers might be able to bring their mission to completion.

What can you do to protect yourself? However, sometimes, you can not avoid being infected. Also, a good antivirus software makes wonders, if it is updated, of course.

Keep in mind that Microsoft recently rolled out a security update for Windows XP to patch up the vulnerability exploited by the ransomware but software companies simply can not release security patches every time the some ransomware strikes with lethal outcomes. The virus has also impacted computers running Windows Vista and Windows 7 whose owners had blocked the security updates. Many have assumed that their own agencies can strike others without risk, but citizens are starting to suffer collateral damage. Additionally, sometimes data can be recovered without paying the ransom.

Once your files are encrypted, your options are limited. So, everybody should make sure that they have a backup of all their data. The researcher works for a security company called Kryptos Logic but has asked not to be named for privacy reasons, though tabloid newspapers have outed his details and shown up at his parents' home where he lives.