WannaCry Hackers Still Trying To Revive Attack, Says Accidental Hero

Elizabeth Williams
May 28, 2017

The installation of the official Microsoft patch and security software updates can protect computers from attacks of the WannaCry ransomware, Russian security software company Kaspersky Lab has said.

"The attackers initiated an operation to hunt down vulnerable public facing SMB ports and, once located, used the newly available SMB exploits to deploy malware and propagate to other vulnerable machines within connected networks", he wrote.

More modern operating systems - those now being supported by Microsoft - were able to download a critical security patch released on the 14 March, immunising their computers against WannaCry. "Their fear was that it could be theoretically possible to repurpose the exploit to attack Windows XP".

They are having more luck dissecting flaws that limited its spread.

In addition, we must not forget that Windows 7 has less than 3 years left, so the sooner we update the sooner we start avoiding new computer attacks or be left exposed once the extended support cycle is over.

The Verizon 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, the most comprehensive annual survey of security breakdowns, found that it takes three months before at least half of organisations install major new software security patches.

After encrypting files, the WannaCry worm demanded a payment of £230 ($300) in bitcoins before they were unfrozen.

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Other factors may have played a part, however.

Costin Raiu, the director of global research and analysis at Kaspersky, said the number of machines running Windows XP was "insignificant" and Windows 7 x64 was the most infected version of the operating system.

On the other hand, less than one in a thousand were powered by Windows XP making it nearly insignificant for the discussion. Windows 10 accounts for 35.53% of PCs, while Windows 8.1 accounts for 9.56%.

When it issued security fixes to Windows XP, Microsoft said that Windows 10 systems "were not targeted" by WannaCry.

That Windows 7 accounted for the majority of WannaCry infections is not that surprising.

It was unclear whether the disparity reflected Kaspersky security software placement - in, say, far more PCs running the 64-bit version of Windows - the prevalence of 64-bit over 32-bit at this point, or a more efficient spreading mechanism of WannaCry under a 64-bit OS.

Missing from Kaspersky's chart was Windows XP, which was simply not on WannaCry's radar.

Other reports by VgToday

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