Microsoft says NSA to blame for Wannacry

An unprecedented global cyberattack that infected computers in at least 150 countries beginning May 12 has unleashed a new wave of criticism of the US National Security Agency.

The ransomware attacks by hackers over the past few days have wreaked havoc across the globe.

It's hard not to engage in a bit of victim-blaming in this situation, especially because security experts say the attacks could have been prevented.

In case of any ransomware attack, report Action Fraud.

They exploited a ideal storm of factors — the Windows hole, the ability to get ransom paid in digital currency, poor security practices — but it's unclear if the payoff, at least so far, was worth the trouble.

Three variants of the ransomware have been detected. Fernandes also elaborates on how one can take cognizance of such occurrences saying: "If you receive e-mail that tells you to open links or visit a page and you do not know the user sending you the e-mail then probably you should trash the email as it is one of the safest ways to avoid an attack". Then Ransomware leverages flaws in the computer's operating system to force it to run Ransomware code. The malware has been identified using 27 different languages.

Who is behind this cyber-attack?

Some cyber security investigators think North Korean hackers may have conducted the attack.

The even more important lesson here is that years, even decades of warnings from security experts simply aren't getting through to the public.

In a blog post on Sunday, Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, noted that as cyberattacks have grown in sophistication, the government practice of hoarding malicious tools has done more harm than good.

The agency is regarded as having among the world's most advanced cyber intrusion capabilities.

Kafeine, a well-known researcher at security firm Proofpoint, said the attack started no later than May 2 and may have begun as early as April 24.

Blaming the ransomware attack on stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments, Microsoft said, "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".

"But this is one in which what's broken is the system by which we fix".

The cyber attack has been deemed as the biggest in history even as IT specialists suggest that the cyber criminals responsible have not made much monetary benefits. "Yet, when a serious vulnerability is discovered in software, many companies respond slowly or say it's not their problem".

Bossert, the White House homeland security adviser, defended the government's handling of known security vulnerabilities.

Questions are now being asked about the vulnerabilities caused by reliance of many parts of the NHS on ageing infrastructure and software. "That forced many people to update their operating systems", said Brian Mertz, spokesman for Technology Services on campus. Microsoft did release a patch for the vulnerability in March but computers and networks that didn't update their systems were still at risk. SMB networks are used in homes and businesses to transfer data between trusted computers. But consumers bear a responsibility of their own to stay current with critical patches, he said, and the spread of the WannaCry attack was exacerbated by the volume of machines that had not had the patch installed - two months after it was issued.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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