Microsoft Points Finger at NSA in Ransomware Outbreak

Cyberattack effect: Over 2 lakh ATMs in India to be closed for software update

"The recent global ransomware attack exploiting a flaw in Windows, while serious, not only demonstrates the continued ubiquity of Microsoft, but also highlights that numerous affected enterprises or entities that are still using older, and now unsupported, versions of Windows need to accelerate their plans to upgrade to Windows 10", analyst Michael Nemeroff wrote in a note to clients Monday entitled "If you're not current, you're toast".

Bkav recommends that all computer users immediately install updates and security patches and hotfixes via Windows Update.

Unlike other ransomwares, users don't need to click anything with WannaCry. It surfaced on Friday and locked users out of their computers by encrypting important files - leaving only one way out i.e.by paying $300 of ransom in Bitcoin.

The ransomware incident, which affected more than 200,000 computer systems in 150 countries, disrupted services at 61 NHS organisations, with some still struggling to restore operations. "This ransomworm specifically used Microsoft SMB vulnerability MS17-010 to spread internally", which is the same vulnerability the NSA utilized for a couple years and was recently exposed via the January NSA tools leak.

Microsoft released a patch for the flaw in March after hackers stole the exploit from the NSA.

Currently, there is no permanent fix that could end the wrath of this ransomware, but here are a few pointers that could help you in protecting your Windows PC if it has not been attacked yet.

The state-run People's Daily compared the cyber attack to the terrorist hacking depicted in the USA film "Die Hard 4", warning that China's role in global trade and internet connectivity opened it to increased risks from overseas. (Mac users have been unaffected, he said.) Windows XP was released in 2001.

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Second, use state-of-the-art tools to protect the network against known and unknown malware and attacks. But in this case, according to Kaspersky Lab, the shared code was removed from the versions of WannaCry that are now circulating, which reduces the likelihood of such a "false flag" attempt at misdirection. The longer you wait, the more you have to pay. WannaCry is believed to be using the same software.

The Finnish computer security firm F-Secure called the problem spreading around the world "the biggest ransomware outbreak in history".

FedEx, French automaker Renault and Spanish telecommunications firm Telefonica are among those attacked. Whoever is behind the attack could update the ransomware and remove the kill switch. In what it said was a "highly unusual" step, Microsoft also agreed to provide the patch for older versions of Windows, including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

China Daily said that National Security Agency of U.S. should carry some responsibility for the attack which marks susceptibilities in Microsoft Corp systems and has septic about 30,000 Chinese officialdoms till Saturday. Hackers will sometimes encourage you to keep your computer on and linked to the network, but don't be fooled. Microsoft surely wants to continue to sell successive versions of Windows every several years and gradually forget about its earlier attempts-it's the business they're in.

Smith says cyberweapons require a new approach, and governments must "consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".

Microsoft chief legal officer Brad Smith blamed the NSA's practice of developing hacking methods to use against the US Government's enemies for leaving gaping vulnerabilities.

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