Ransomware WannaCry to attack Indian banking system soon: Cyber expert

by Leslie Wood May 20, 2017, 17:30

In the wake of the massive cybersecurity attack, Microsoft issued a statement regarding the WannaCry ransomware and how everyone needs to come together to be able to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Here's what we now know about the ransomware known as WannaCry, which locked up digital photos, documents and other files to hold them for ransom. Figuring that out could yield important clues to the identity of its authors.

A 22-year old British security researcher who goes by the Twitter name MalwareTech is credited with slowing the spread of the ransomware by discovering a "kill switch" in the software that could disable the malware.

Hackers bait users to click on infected email links, open infected attachments or take advantage of outdated and vulnerable systems. The Ransomware virus had stopped vehicle factories, hospitals, shops and schools in over 75 countries."The Ransomware virus is a virus that affects computer systems and locks up the files on your computer and encrypts them in a way that you can not access them anymore", said Harinder Singh Sekhon, in-charge, cyber cell.He added, "Ransomware is a programme that gets into your computer only by downloading and it will ask you to pay ransom in Bitcoins".

"Once your system is affected, there is no option other than to pay the ransom, or you have to forget your data", the Brusin official said. But one phase of the WannaCry saga must still play out - the criminal investigation.

It is possible to remove WannaCry from your computer once it is there - although the process is not straightforward. So far, there have been no withdrawals from those accounts.

In response, cyber spies around the world are calling on the skills of bedroom computer prodigies such as the 22-year-old surfer credited with helping to stop Friday's attack. "Unfortunately, most people don't have them", Abrams says. Investigators will look for who did it or profited by it - down to specific individuals - including where they are located.

"They're going to end up going above and beyond and some vendors are going to start extending support for out-of-support things that they haven't done before", said Greg Young, an analyst at market research firm Gartner Inc.

The worldwide "ransomware" cyberattack spread to thousands of more computers on Monday as people logged in at work, disrupting business, schools, hospitals and daily life, though no new large-scale breakdowns were reported. He says Chinese security companies have been offering their help.

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"Ransomware is still not a cyber crime that is recognized under the Information Technology Act 2000 and it does not get fully covered by provision of the Indian Penal Code". The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.

It's still unclear who created WannaCry, whether amateurs or skilled hackers. They were faced with the most devastating attack on IT systems that they had ever seen.

Malware-tracking maps show WannaCry has remained active in Europe over the past 24 hours. That wasn't done here. In the UK's National Health Service, which was particularly badly hit, at least 47 organisations were affected.

Ransomware is a type of malware virus that takes over a computer and prevents users accessing data until a ransom is paid. When it infects a computer, it encrypts files, making them unusable, and demands a ransom to unlock the files.

United Kingdom hospitals are supposed to back up data frequently and at multiple locations.

Though the WannaCry worm was one of the largest cyberattacks in history, it still might not be enough to shift everyone off old technology.

Security experts said the NSA had engaged in responsible disclosure by informing Microsoft of the flaw at some point after learning it had been stolen and a month before the tools leaked online.

But some other technology industry executives said privately that it reflected a widely held view in Silicon Valley that the US government is too willing to jeopardize internet security in order to preserve offensive cyber capabilities.

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