Chinese State Media Says US Should Take Some Blame for Cyber-Attack

However, the threat is far from over.

Initial reports suspected that this attack followed standard ransomware procedures: an infected ZIP file is sent via phishing email to an untold number of computer users. And there are many more to come. Software experts said that the group's dump of NSA tools in April included additional exploits that are "wormable" - meaning they could spread rapidly, like the ransomware attack - and that it might well have more NSA malware it has not yet released.

EternalBlue has been used by the NSA for more than five years. They are a class of software created to infiltrate computers, and once inside, they lock up or encrypt important documents and data.

"WannaCry is an extremely simple piece of malware, written carelessly - or purposely! - with a kill switch", said Alex Vaystikh, CTO at SecBI.

"I expect organizations will take a look at internal firewalling off the port 445 which was how the attack propagated", said Chris Wysopal, CTO and cofounder at Veracode.

However, the Post report, which cites former NSA employees, confirms that the agency warned Microsoft of the vulnerability after Shadow Brokers began leaking alleged hacking tools online last August. WannaCry ransomware attack is not affecting devices with Apple's MacOS or those running Linux-based operating systems. Security experts say the attack could have been prevented if many businesses had simply kept their machines up to date with the latest software.

Some hospitals also use equipment with outdated software.

Michael V. Hayden, director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005, was once a staunch supporter of the agency, but he believes that the cyber attack "poses a very serious threat to the future of the agency".

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So what has been the impact of WannaCry on Indian companies? At present, the culprits behind the ransomware attacks have yet to be identified. Yeah, that North Korea, the totalitarian state led by a nutcase who cuts his hair with a lawnmower and executes the barber if he thinks it's not ideal. Even those computers for which the security updates or patches were not applied have been affected. Chinese state media reported that 40,000 businesses and institutions have been hit, according to NPR, including universities, gas stations and city services. Can the secret be kept securely and reliably?

It's unclear who the attackers are, but we do somewhat know about the origins of the ransomware.

The massive attack has been a boon for cyber security firms, driving up stock prices of some while others, like six-year-old American start-up Crowdstrike, were able to raise $100 million in one day.

In addition, ransomware developers often use pop-up windows that advertise software products that remove malware. They thought that they did everything that they could to defend their systems, but wannacry disabled many institutions so fast that in the countries most affected, many hospitals were unable to function even though their IT systems are usually the best when it comes to security.

Lots of users, particularly those who are overseas, don't use automatic updates and leave their systems vulnerable, he said. "This is a best practice to reduce the risk from any attack", noted Sunil Sharma, Vice President - Sales at Sophos, India & SAARC.

It is also fortunate that smartphones, despite their global popularity, have not yet been targeted in a large-scale malware attack like this.

The other important point made by cyber security evangelist Pavan Duggal, at a recent event is that most countries have not given cybersecurity the kind of importance it deserves. It's a basic rule of cyber security, but one clearly not always obeyed. We'll get to some tips in a minute.

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