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Microsoft reportedly held back WannaCry patch for older Windows versions


Who is to blame for the WannaCry ransomware attack and what can we learn from it?

"WannaCry", as the ransomware is known, uses a Windows vulnerability originally identified by the NSA, according to security experts.

Any organisation which heeded strongly worded warnings from Microsoft to urgently install a security patch it labelled "critical" when it was released on March 14 on all computers on their networks are immune, experts agree.

The attack largely infected networks that used out-of-date software, such as Windows XP, which Microsoft no longer offers technical support for. The most disruptive attacks infected Britain's National Health Service. Moreover, the list will add new members as well as more devices and machines will be attacked by this malware in the future.

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So no, Apple's MacBooks and Macs aren't more secure than Windows-powered machines. He said governments need to consider the damage that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities. "There are plenty of reasons people wait to patch and none of them are good".

"There is a lack of transparency in India, in spite of a mandatory requirement for banks and listed companies to disclose cyber-attack, however, very few banks and companies do that", Tushar Ajinkya, Partner, DSK Legal said. For example, a blog posting from Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity firm with its usa headquarters in Woburn, said that it had not tracked down any such e-mails.

By Friday evening, the ransomware had spread to the United States and South America, though Europe and Russian Federation remained the hardest hit, according to security researchers Malware Hunter Team. Cybereason watches for the start of encryption activity and immediately stops it.

Hospitals across the United Kingdom seemed particularly badly hit - possibly because of a reliance on older version of Windows - and many are still dealing with the aftermath. In other cases, Windows is running as an embedded application, and simply can't be updated.

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A new campaign to mine the same currency, using the same Windows weakness as WannaCry, could be coincidence, or it could suggest that North Korea was responsible for both the ransomware and the currency mining. Once the hackers were in, they could control everything stored on your computer.

Global standards should compel countries not to stockpile or exploit software vulnerabilities, Smith says.

While those utilities can be found using Shodan, Atch said that he didn't feel comfortable revealing their names or locations.

Ryan O'Leary, vice president of WhiteHat Security's threat research center, points out that this weekend's hackers weren't asking for much, usually about $300. Being on a modern and updated system incorporating the newest innovations and features are the best bet against vulnerabilities. Those isolated segments can be protected by internal firewalls or default-deny routers. However, not everyone has installed the patch yet, and those who have not are vulnerable to WannaCry.

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In the event, a security researcher found what turned out to be a kill switch in the ransomware, nearly by accident saving the day, with the number of infections decreasing dramatically since the weekend. Whether WannaCry was the work of an individual, organized criminal syndicate or some government agency is still not clear but some aspects of this attack are relevant. Other malware writers are recompiling WannaCry without the search for the internet site. These are likely to be stronger, more effective, and nearly certainly won't have the same kill switch. So, ensuring that every system in the office has updated systems and anti-viruses is a must.

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