WannaCry 2.0: Get Ready For a New Round of Ransomware Attacks

Candice Alexander
May 20, 2017

This cyber-attack is also another reason to be diligent about patching your environment as well. @malwaretechblog's accidental kill switch and the arrival of the weekend gave individuals and organizations some room to breathe. And that's for a simple reason: Individuals and organizations alike are fundamentally awful about keeping their computers up-to-date with security fixes.

What is all the fuss about?

Two months after Microsoft issued its security patch, thousands of computers remained vulnerable to the WannaCry attack.

Basic protocol such as stressing that workers shouldn't click on questionable links or open suspicious attachments can save headaches. Once infected, the ransomware encrypts all data on that computer with the hacker then going on to ask the victim for a sum, often in Bitcoins.

Lastly there are, of course, the attackers, who kidnapped precious data and demanded ransom be paid.

Grafi said his firm has been contacted by companies that are scrambling to avoid potential pitfalls. "We've seen that the slowdown of the infection rate over Friday night, after a temporary fix around it, has now been overcome by a second variation the criminals have released". "We will continue to work with affected (organizations) to confirm this", the agency said.

The attack targets Windows systems that have not been udpated to patch the vulnerability revealed in the NSA leaks. FedEx, Nissan, and the United Kingdom's National Health Service were among the victims. Vehicle manufacturers Renault and Nissan, German rail operator Deutsche Bahn, worldwide shipper FedEx Corp and Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica were among other companies affected. Install Microsoft's patch. 3. "If people have already taken action and applied the software patch (issued by Microsoft), they need not worry.If they haven't, they should apply it immediately".

Microsoft criticized the USA government for not informing it of the vulnerability. "More action is needed, and it's needed now".

On top of that, the NSA would likely be able to claim that it is shielded from liability under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which says that the government can not be sued over carrying out its official duties. "We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world", Smith wrote.

India's government said it received only a few reports of attacks and urged those hit not to pay any ransom. He says that when the NSA lost control of the software behind the cyberattack, it was like "the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

"This attack is a powerful reminder that information technology basics like keeping computers current and patched are a high responsibility for everyone, and it's something every top executive should support", explained Smith.

NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden also took to Twitter to lambast the NSA.

Academic and writer Zeynep Tufekci went further, suggesting that the world needs a "complete overhaul of how technology companies, governments and institutions operate and handle software". "There's no waving that away", he said. If you don't pay by the end of the week, then the ransomware threatens to delete your files altogether. It's a classic case where prevention is better than cure hold valid ground. They will get in your networks - but how will you know?

Using antivirus software will at least protect you from the most basic, well-known viruses by scanning your system against the known fingerprints of these pests. Was it Microsoft's fault for no longer supporting Windows XP and other software, was it the NSA's fault for having their weapon stolen, was it the NHS's fault for running outdated software or someone else?

Other reports by VgToday

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