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How to Shield Your System Against WannaCry Ransomware Attack


Computer systems in hospitals across the United Kingdom were struck with threats from the hackers to pay a ransom in order to regain vital medical files.

Some 47 NHS trusts fell victim to these ransomware attacks resulting in devastating consequences for some patients, as operations were cancelled and medical records held for ransom.

As mentioned, blame is starting to be levied against Microsoft for not patching older versions of Windows with new firewalls or the NSA for letting these exploits sit.

"WannaCry is far and away the most severe malware attack so far in 2017, and the spread of this troubling ransomware is far from over".

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Brad Smith, the President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft has blamed the practice of US's National Security Agency for developing hacking techniques to use against the own enemies of the U.S. government, while some others have blamed Microsoft's poor programming.

WannaCry uses EternalBlue, which takes advantage of a vulnerability in the SMB protocol, to worm its way through local networks and online. Hackers then demanded a $300 ransom (double that after 72 hours) to unlock the device and all saved files.

At least 30 computers have been reportedly affected by ransomware in Bangladesh. Companies can also install white listing software that prevents the downloading of unauthorized computer software.

What versions of Windows are affected?

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The vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows software - exploited by "WannaCrypt" - crippled computers across 150 countries, with hackers demanding hundreds of dollars from the users for them to regain control over their data. Microsoft requires Windows 10 customers to automatically update their computers, but some people with older PCs disabled automatic updates.

For a full description of ransomware and how it can be stopped, see here. China were worst affected, and as the main economic allies of North Korea, it's shady at best to suggest North Korea would target them with ransomware attacks.

Businesses and home users can follow similar steps to ensure safety, notably keeping security software patches and antivirus software up to date.

If you don't pay, your encrypted files are lost.

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Smith's blog post did not address another factor in the ransomware's spread, one that hints at the difficulty of uniting against a hacking attack: Users of pirated Microsoft software are unable to download the security patch, forcing them to fend for themselves or rely on a third-party source for a solution.

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