Ransomware WannaCry to attack Indian banking system soon: Cyber expert

The virus exploits a flaw in a version of Microsoft Windows first identified by US intelligence. Image for Representation

The virus exploits a flaw in a version of Microsoft Windows first identified by US intelligence. Image for Representation

You've probably heard about the ransomware attack affecting organizations' computer systems around the world.

In the advisory, the Bhopal Cyber Cell has charted out what is Ransomware, malware, WannaCry software, bitcoin and the precautions one need to take to avoid getting hacked by any such attack in future.

The WannaCry attack is specifically targeted at a flaw found in the Microsoft Windows operating system.

"The operating systems on our computers and software downloads are managed centrally so that regular users can not download executable files from the internet without administrative rights", he said in an email.

Microsoft Corp President Brad Smith sharply criticized the U.S. government on Sunday for "stockpiling" software flaws that it often can not protect, citing recent leaks of both NSA and Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools. No one purchased the stolen tools, and so the ShadowBrokers began leaking details in an effort to convince people they had what they claimed. Still, he said Microsoft should accept some responsibility. He noted, however, the complexity that can be involved in patching a security hole. "When a design flaw is discovered in a vehicle, manufacturers issue a recall". In most cases, a new version of Windows or another operating system would also need a new computer that was powerful enough to run it, and potentially new bespoke hardware and software to enable the organisation to do its job.

Security experts have speculated that the ransomware, which works by exploiting a vulnerability in older versions of Windows, came from a cache of hacking tools allegedly stolen from the NSA by hacker group Shadow Brokers. "Since March, the government has been on high alert".

The most likely reason that out-of-date systems are still being used is the cost of upgrading them.

"Install the official patch from Microsoft that closes the vulnerability used in the attack".

"Speaking of hoarding, though, it's emerged Microsoft was itself stockpiling software - critical security patches for months."
As we speak, it has already started infecting countries in UK & Europe, and has not yet spread to India.

Netsafe's director of outreach Sean Lyons said scammers often used issues reported in the media because they knew people were likely to be anxious and let their guard down. "That's going to become a more common practice".

There's a simple task available to all computer users that can allow them to laugh in the face of even the most malicious ransomware attack.

"Companies like Microsoft should discard the idea that they can abandon people using older software", Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the school of information and library science at the University of North Carolina, wrote in a New York Times opinion piece over the weekend. But in this case, according to Kaspersky Lab, the shared code was removed from the versions of WannaCrypt that are now circulating, which reduces the likelihood of such a "false flag" attempt at misdirection. It locks the user out in order to prevent them from accessing any saved files until they pay a certain amount of money.

The warning was echoed by Britain's National Cyber Security Centre: "As a new working week begins it is likely, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, that further cases of ransomware may come to light, possibly at a significant scale". "To keep the world safe, these things have to be done".

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