5 ways to become a smaller target for ransomware hackers

by Noah Mcgee May 18, 2017, 20:04
5 ways to become a smaller target for ransomware hackers

In a blog post, the US tech giant recalled that it had published an update in March to address the weakness exploited in Friday's attacks, a security flaw exposed in documents leaked from the US National Security Agency.

The warning echoed that from Europe's policing agency earlier Sunday. It's possible an NSA contractor may have been careless in leaving the hacking tool on an unsecured computer from which it was stolen by a hacking collective, that may have auctioned it on the dark net, although it came as a crumb of comfort that a domain name costing less than Rs 800 to create may have found the antidote to stop this virulent attack, the worst in the new millennium since the Love Bug virus.

The apparently random attack, called "WannaCry," hit on Friday and spread like wildfire before a malware researcher identified as Marcus Hutchins was able to halt it temporarily a day later, when workers in many companies weren't in their offices.

Managers at many companies and other organizations have not taken steps to put proper cybersecurity systems in place despite talking about their importance, Gazeley said.

Unfortunately, no. This is merely one "strain" of the virus that has been stopped from spreading over networks. Nonetheless, the experts say such widespread attacks are tough to pull off.

Spanish firm Telefonica, French automaker Renault, the US -based delivery service FedEx and the German railway Deutsche Bahn were among those affected.

"I'm anxious about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn on their machines on Monday", he said.

Europol's Wainwright underscored the point Sunday. Updating software will take care of some vulnerability.

Several organizations around the world including the UK's National Health Service (NHS) were greeted by a message informing them that they had to pay $300 in Bitcoin if they wanted access to their files.

The hacking tool was leaked by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which has been dumping stolen NSA hacking tools online beginning past year.

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The attacks exploit a vulnerability in outdated versions of Microsoft Windows that is particularly problematic for corporations that don't automatically update their systems.

Technicians around the world are scrambling to apply computer patches and restore systems amid fears that a global malware attack could wreak a new round of havoc on Monday when businesses reopen.

The ransomware attack exploits a vulnerability in older Windows OS, including Windows 8, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Machines that contained the patch are much less at risk than those that didn't. "Obviously, they want those tools in order to spy on people of interest, on other countries, to conduct surveillance", Cluley said.

Colleges: Internet security firm Qihoo360 issued a "red alert" over the weekend, saying a large number of colleges and students in China had been hit by the ransomware attack.

Other criminals may be tempted to mimic the success of Friday's "ransomware " attack, which locks up computers and hold people's files for ransom.

WannaCry has already caused massive disruption around the globe.

U.S. package delivery giant FedEx, European vehicle factories, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, Britain's health service and Germany's Deutsche Bahn rail network were among those hit.

Reports suggest that over two lakh systems globally could have been infected by the malicious software. Anti-virus signatures for known ransomware variants, including WannaCry, may need to be updated as well. The company said it deployed extra staff to busy stations to provide customer information, and recommended that passengers check its website or app for information on their connections.

"Malware that penetrates the perimeter and then spreads inside the network tends to be quite successful", said Johannes Ullrich, director of the Internet Storm Center at the SANS Institute.

Megafon, a Russian telecommunications company, was also hit by the attack. So far approximately 200,000 computers in over 150 countries have been impacted, making this the largest global ransomware attack to date.


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