Microsoft says WannaCry ransomware must be a wake-up call for governments

Angelica Greene
May 19, 2017

Microsoft had released a patch in March to counter WannaCrypt ransomware, the company also issued a prompt update on Friday to Windows Defender to detect the WannaCrypt attack. You can also install an antimalware package, such as Malwarebytes, or deploy an anti-ransomware package such as the one from security software company Cybereason, which is now offering the software for free, at least initially, for new customers. It locked down victim's computers and then threatened to delete the files if they didn't pay $300.

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Researchers around the globe have predicted that a second wave of ransomware attacks is likely anytime soon.

It appears that the malware doesn't attack Windows 10 machines, and it may also be sparing Windows XP machines.

Jorgensen also noted that this particular ransomware strategy, using stolen information about a Microsoft operating system vulnerability allegedly discovered by a US intelligence agency, could lead to some deeper and necessary societal conversations about how to approach and address digital security issues. "The bank has in place all the required infrastructure to ensure that none of the bank's property falls prey to any cyber-attack of this nature which has cast a shadow of gloom over the computer users worldwide". No matter how Microsoft pushes the newest system to customers (the upgrades are free), some systems stick with the old versions, simply because they can't afford the switching effort in terms of the time required and the old hardware's insufficiency.

"Unquestionably, it was criminals who unleashed this malware to make money".

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Yet, Bossert claimed in Monday's press briefing that if organizations follow the mitigation advice published by the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Microsoft-and have patched their systems-they will be "protected against all these variants". "I don't think waiting two months is reasonable".

Jorgensen, who worked for 20 years as a private sector cybersecurity expert before joining UVU, said that debate is already being engaged by his students.

Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith waded into the middle of the ethical dilemma in a blog post Sunday.

Smith wrote that his company was obligated to take responsibility for addressing vulnerabilities when they are made known, as Microsoft did in this case. Still, beyond the piracy issue, we will no doubt hear for weeks about WannaCry infections because some organizations will be slow to install the patches.

A cyber-attack that hit 150 countries should be treated by governments around the world as a "wake-up call", Microsoft has said. The government has to use a different approach and use the same rules they apply to the real weapons in case of cyber-world too.

"We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits". Opposed to the regular ransomware that encrypts just the local machine it lands on, this type spreads throughout the organization's network from within, without having users open an email or malicious attachment. This will make it much easier to spot potentially malicious files.

Other reports by GizPress

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