Ransomware: Guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre

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Last Friday, several countries across the globe saw ransomware attacks made by a virus called WannaCry.

Microsoft is blaming the USA government.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA | Following a massive cyber attack that has swept across dozens of countries around the world recently, the president of the U.S. technology giant Microsoft, Brad Smith, called on the governments, tech sector and customers to join forces in boosting global cyber security. "This is an emerging pattern in 2017".

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the USA military intelligence organisation National Security Agency (NSA) has affected customers around the world", Smith wrote. The cyber criminals have demanded a fee of about Dollars 300 in crypto-currencies like Bitcoin for unlocking the device.

Tom Bossert, a homeland security adviser to President Trump, said Monday on television that things are "right now, under control" in the United States. A cyber coordination centre will start operating from next month to take precautions against such attacks, he said.

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Computer giant Microsoft said the attack, which has affected hundreds of thousands of computers, should serve as a wake-up call. But he disagreed about where the blame lies. It says ransomware attacks were "normally criminal rather than political in nature..."

EternalBlue has been used by the NSA for more than five years.

"We need the tech sector, customers, and governments to work together to protect against cybersecurity attacks", Microsoft's Smith wrote.

In addition, if critics want to point a finger, "the NSA which reportedly discovered the vulnerability and then failed to warn hospitals and other organizations is a better target than Microsoft", he said.

He added: "This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem".

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Vu Ngoc Son, deputy head of the anti-malware department of Bkav Corporation, the largest internet security firm in Vietnam, said that the WannaCry ransomware's behaviour is "not new", but he believes that the use of this ransomware will not really ease up as "it can directly earn large profits for hackers".

But many security experts are warning victims to not to pay the ransom.

"There is a lack of transparency in India, in-spite of a mandatory requirement for banks and listed companies to disclose cyber-attack, however, very few banks and companies do that", said Tushar Ajinkya, Partner, DSK Legal.

If you don't pay, your encrypted files are lost.

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