NSA Told Microsoft of Flaw Before Ransomware Attack

19 Mai, 2017, 18:09 | Author: Come Portier

Experts described it as the world's "greatest cyber-attack".

According to various reports, this attack avenue has been developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the U.S. as a cyber-weapon and it was leaked to the public earlier in April along with other classified data allegedly stolen from the agency.

An illustration showed that once you receive an infected file typically attached to an email or a URL, an encryption key locks all your data. In a matter of minutes, your files are our of reach. In other words, paying may not guarantee you can again access your files. The hackers responsible are demanding that the computer-owners pay them money to release their data.

Trustlook, a next-generation cybersecurity company, has released a free scanner and vaccine toolkit to help protect Windows computers that are either vulnerable to, or have been infected with, the unsafe strain of ransomware known as WannaCry.

"Code for exploiting that bug, which is known as "Eternal Blue" in Microsoft's Windows operating system, was released on the internet in March and Microsoft released patches last month", Wu noted.

India Inc has also been on the vigil against "WannaCry", which has claimed victims in over 150 countries like Spanish telecom firm Telefonica, US' logistics major FedEx and Russia's interior ministry. That said, in March the United States tech giant released a Windows security update for the vulnerability targeted in this hack, but many users were yet to run it.

It's not just home users who are affected, as the attacks have targeted hospitals and businesses as well.

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How did the attack spread so fast? Companies in Asia and Europe have been warning employees to be careful when clicking on attachments and links in their emails.

It depends. The WannaCry virus only infects machines running Windows. By that time, Microsoft had discovered the bug on its own and issued a security update, but many users with older versions of Windows no longer receive such updates.

Europol has been analysing the virus and was yet to identify the hacking group behind the massive attacks.

"Who's culpable are the criminals that distributed it and the criminals that weaponized it", Bossert said.

Usually the payment is made in the form of Bitcoins.

One of the problems with such a system is that when The Geneva Convention was created, weapons were quite tightly controlled by national governments. "This is an opportunity to improve something, and that's what we stand ready to do", he said. "We expect this is a small operation that is undertaking this". What might happen if they use it? "Unfortunately for the rest of us, this thing went quite global quite quickly".

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