Tech

NSA Told Microsoft of Flaw Before Ransomware Attack

NSA Told Microsoft of Flaw Before Ransomware Attack

WannaCry or Wanna Decryptor ransomware seems to have used a vulnerability in Microsoft's software. It urged all banks in the country to take precautions against the ransomware.

Europol said over the weekend that although ransomware is not new, the size of the current attack is "unprecedented".

The hackers are called Shadow brokers.

Microsoft wanted hefty fees of up to $1,000 a year from businesses for "custom" support and protection against attacks like WannaCry, which locks your computer unless you pay the hackers in bitcoin, said the publication. Most similar viruses rely on humans to spread by tricking them into clicking on an attachment harbouring the attack code.

According to the FT, the cost of updating older Windows versions "went from US$200 (RM865.50) per device in 2014, when regular support for XP ended, to US$400 the following year", while some clients were asked to pay heftier fees. In India, the attack has been found extensively in Andhra Pradesh where gram panchayats have also been targeted. Also, it turned out that Russian Federation and India are the two worst hit countries, because of extensive use of Windows XP. In the UK's National Health Service, which was particularly badly hit, at least 47 organisations were affected. WannaCry infected more than 300,000 computers with ransomware, and the malware's most unsafe feature wasn't even the fact that it encrypted the user's personal files asking for ransom in Bitcoin.

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Researchers around the globe have predicted that a second wave of ransomware attacks is likely anytime soon. Egypt convened its High Council for Cyber Security to review the situation there, and Israeli authorities also reported minimal damage to their systems.

The comments and data show that, in many cases, these attacks could have been prevented. Most of the federal agencies have completely stopped the use of Microsoft XP. Now, the Navy is shifting towards the use of Windows 10.

In China, the internet security company Qihoo360 issued a "red alert" saying that a large number of colleges and students in the country had been affected by the ransomware. Caught between the need to protect their own country's digital data and stealing data from other countries and any individuals thought to be suspicious, national cybersecurity agencies have developed tools that can compromise the digital security of nearly anyone. Sivarama Krishnan, the executive director at PWC, is working with his team to protect 2000 clients, identify the threats and block those using firewalls. This is a world where the conversation about upgrading cybersecurity can not be had without questioning the overall global approach to the digital world. It says ransomware attacks were "normally criminal rather than political in nature..."

Smith said governments need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world.


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