Ransomware attack should be wake-up call for govts

Alain Brian
Mai 16, 2017

The virus can target home computers or servers that businesses and state agencies use.

The hackers leverage on a Window exploit developed by the US' National Security Agency called EternalBlue, which was reportedly leaked and dumped by the Shadow Brokers hacking group last month.

Some organizations around the world will likely wake up to computers infected by the ransomware, causing it to potentially spread even further.

"Otherwise they're literally fighting the problems of the present with tools from the past". The attack was first reported from France, Sweden and the UK. The creators of the virus might have included the web address as a kill switch, in case they wanted to stop it spreading any further; the name might also have been included as protection against the ransomware being analysed by cybersecurity experts.

In light of the recent WannaCry (WannaCrypt) ransomware attacks, which saw an NSA-owned virus stolen and used in an attack that brought United Kingdom hospitals to its knees, Microsoft has issued a asking for "a new Digital Geneva Convention" to avoid the hoarding of malicious vulnerabilities by government agencies.

The attacks exploited the computers because they were running outdated versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system. The ATM machines mostly run on Windows software and are extremely vulnerable to the cyber attack.

Install Microsoft's official patch. This guards against many types of malware and ransomware.

Keep security software up to date.

Beware of unknown emails, especially if there are attachments or links. It also says to block pop-ups adverts, which will stop most potentially risky pop-up windows with harmful links appearing on your screen. Patched computers carry a much lower risk of being infected by malware or ransomware than those without an update. If the ransomware has just blocked access to your web browser, it may be possible to regain control by accessing your computer's task manager and shutting down the program. If the ransomware has locked your entire PC, as WannaCry has done, combating it is more hard. "But at the same time, I also know that if you're someone who's been affected and you've lost all your children's photographs or you've lost all your data or you lost your thesis, sometimes $300 is worth it, you know?"

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