French researchers claim cure for WannaCry-infected computers

Posted May 21, 2017

China's cyber authorities have repeatedly pushed for what they call a more "equitable" balance in global cyber governance, criticising USA dominance.

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Since its discovery on Friday, May 12, the WannaCry ransomware attack has continued to spread, according to numerous media accounts. Up till now, the global cyber-attack has affected more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries, which also includes India. When it infects a computer, it encrypts files, making them unusable, and demands a ransom to unlock the files. Hackers are said to have stolen the tools from the NSA and distributed them via Internet. Because numerous computers impacted run older Windows systems like XP, Microsoft issued a rare patch for XP, which it had stopped updating more than three years ago.

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What versions of Windows are affected?

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) urged computer users to apply special protective software patches in addition to standard precautions.

Microsoft has faced criticism since 2014 for withdrawing support for older versions of Windows software such as 16-year-old Windows XP and requiring users to pay hefty annual fees instead. Windows computers that are not up to date on security updates from Microsoft are vulnerable to infection. That happened here with some systems of Windows.

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The Russian central bank confirmed there were some isolated cases but they were dealt with quickly and recommendations to update any Windows software were twice issued to all banks in the wake of the attacks. The report also said that employees have been made aware about the dangers of clicking on fraudulent links and unsolicited emails, which are two of the ways the malware is downloaded onto a computer system and subsequently enters a computer network of an organisation.

On Sunday, the U.S. software giant called on intelligence services to strike a better balance between their desire to keep software flaws secret - in order to conduct espionage and cyber warfare - and sharing those flaws with technology companies to better secure the internet.

"What really makes the magnitude of this attack so much greater than any other is that the intent has changed from information stealing to business disruption", said Samil Neino, 32, chief executive of Los Angeles-based Kryptos Logic.

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