According to Kaspersky Lab, the four most affected countries were Russia, Ukraine, India and Taiwan.
Alex is a technical writer for Firebrand Training. WannaCry encrypts data files and asks users to pay a ransom in bitcoins. Nevertheless, the risk to these devices is real, and avoidable, Plus, there are risks beyond security to using devices with obsolete operating systems.
At least 150 different countries were affected by the so-called WannaCry worm, software that, when installed on a computer running Microsoft Windows, prevents its use unless money is sent to the hacker - hence the term "ransomware".
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.
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In 2015, over a dozen of the world's most prominent experts in the field of cryptography issued their assessment regarding the use of backdoors by agencies like the NSA - and they roundly objected. Shadow Brokers, the group that is believed to behind the theft of the NSA hacking tools, has already threatened to put out more of these tools in the public. As reported in Wired Magazine, the best protection against the WannaCry ransomware was to download and install a security patch provided by Microsoft.
Among the Windows version affected include Windows 8, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, according to CNet. If you have questions or are unsure about whether your Microsoft Windows operating system received the crucial patch necessary to block this ransomware attack, contact CMIT Solutions immediately (973-325-3663). It's a basic rule of cyber security, but one clearly not always obeyed.
The WannaCry ransomware program takes advantage of flaws in unpatched copies of some versions of Windows, especially Windows XP.
With computers across Britain's National Health Service displaying ransom notes, appointments and operations were postponed because of the unavailability of patient data. At this point computers which were not updated with the NHS digital security patch were compromised.
"It should be included in all Windows - it shouldn't be that you have to pay more for a more secure version of Windows", says Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm.
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Ransomware attacks represent about 22 percent of all global incidents NTT Security, an information security and risk management firm, handles for clients, said Kai Grunwitz, the firm's senior vice president for central Europe.
Microsoft released a patch to fix the exploit in March.
Since Microsoft offered patches for this vulnerability before the attacks took place, "then it's on the users to apply those patches for their own safety", said Olds. Perhaps, an indication that the technology industry is now willing to take government-embarrassing methods to resist the surveillance agencies' desire to exploit or insert vulnerabilities in industry products. "That people are attempting to lay blame on the company says volumes about them, and about the curious view that some have of software vendors in general and Microsoft in particular".
"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", the company said Sunday.
Although the announcement was "too late to contain the WannaCry outbreak", the report said. The attacks highlight the challenges that organizations face with consistently applying security safeguards on a large scale.
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WannaCry is a wake-up call to enterprises and individuals of the need for better Cyber Security.