Microsoft patches Windows XP to fight the WannaCrypt ransomware attacks

15 Мая, 2017, 00:51 | Author: Randy Kelley

The UK's National Health Service fell victim, its hospitals forced to close wards and emergency rooms and turn away patients. A large cyberattack crippled computer systems at.

A security guard stands outside the Telefonica headquarters in Madrid, Spain, Friday, May 12, 2017.

Who perpetrated this wave of attacks remains unknown.

FILE - This April 12, 2016 file photo shows the Microsoft logo in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside Paris, France.

Separately, Europol Jan Op Gen Oorth said Sunday that the number of individuals who have fallen victim to the cyberextortion attack could be much higher than is now known as more people may find they were hit by the virus when they return to work Monday and switch on their computers.

People inside a Megafon mobile phones shop in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 13, 2017.

In a blogpost released on Friday, Microsoft said it is taking a "highly unusual step of providing a security update for all customers to protect Windows platforms that are in custom support only, including Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003".

The malicious cyberattack used leaked tools of the National Security Agency to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows.

"Currently the spreading of the ransomware is slowed down dramatically because a researcher found a logic bug in the malware, not because the companies around the world are having good security practice", Matt Suiche, founder of Comae Technologies, a cybersecurity company in the United Arab Emirates. It demands users pay 300 dollars worth of cryptocurrency Bitcoin to retrieve their files, as per the agency and spreads easily when it encounters unpatched or outdated software.

"I will confess that I was unaware registering the domain would stop the malware until after I registered it, so initially it was accidental", wrote the researcher, who uses the Twitter name @MalwareTechBlog.

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It has now been revealed that the government had knowingly failed to renew an extended support contract for Windows XP in 2015, saying "We expect most remaining government devices using Windows XP will be able to mitigate any risks, using the CESG guidance".

The spread of the attack appears to have been thwarted by private cybersecurity researchers who identified and triggered the malware's "kill switch", which halted the attacks before it spread throughout US networks, a senior USA intelligence official confirmed, but it is unclear whether, the official said, a modified attack will soon be launched.

Britain's National Cyber Security Center said it could have been much worse if not for a young cybersecurity researcher who helped to halt its spread by accidentally activating a skill switch in the malicious software. The exploit became widely known at that point, and Microsoft issued a patch.

Media reports indicated that computers running Microsoft Windows are vulnerable to WannaCry.

That quick thinking may have saved governments and companies millions of dollars and slowed the outbreak before USA -based computers were more widely infected.

But the kill switch couldn't help those already infected. Short of paying, options for these individuals and companies are usually limited to recovering data files from a backup, if available, or living without them.

"It's impacting overseas among those who have outdated software or pirated software", the senior intelligence official said. The NSA tools were stolen by hackers and dumped on the internet.

British cybersecurity expert Graham Cluley doesn't want to blame the NSA for the attack.

"There's clearly some culpability on the part of the USA intelligence services".

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