Why WannaCry ransomware took down so many businesses

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 20, 2017

Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at Gartner, agreed that the government is "is negligent not doing a better job protecting companies", but added that it's not like "you can stop the US government from developing cybertools" that then work as intended. No federal systems were affected.

Mr Wysopal said businesses could learn from how WannaCry spread through the Windows file-sharing system by developing a strict schedule for when computers companywide should automatically install the latest software updates.

"In March, we released a security update which addresses the vulnerability that these attacks are exploiting", Microsoft said last week. But because many customers were still using unsupported versions of XP, WannaCry rapidly infected a large number of systems when it emerged in May.

As the global ransomware attack continues, the Uttar Pradesh police, on May 16, issued a set of measures asking organisations to comply with them in order to protect themselves from the ongoing cyber attack.

They advised those whose networks have been effectively shut down by the ransomware attack not to make the payment demanded - the equivalent of $300, paid in the digital currency bitcoin, delivered to a likely untraceable destination that consists merely of a lengthy string of letters and numbers. Unfortunately, far too few people even bother.

The U.K. government's cyber office put it succinctly: "T$3 he way these attacks work means that compromises of machines and networks that have already occurred may not yet have been detected, and that existing infections from the malware can spread within networks". "But updating your Microsoft operating system is something that should be done relatively quickly", he concludes.

John Riggi, former FBI Section Chief for the Cyber Division Outreach Section and now head of services firm BDO's Cybersecurity and Financial Crimes Unit, believes that because the WannaCry ransomware started out in Europe and spread to the rest of the world-including Asia-the sequence of attacks in other countries worked to the advantage of USA organizations.

A decade-old form of malicious software known as ransomware has been making headlines after cybercriminals hijacked hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide.

CBRC also pledged to increase its own cyber security management and risk prevention capabilities, and guide banks to conduct monitoring, assessment, early warning and prevention for similar events.

The healthcare industry is one of the biggest targets for cybercriminals. If you prefer using Android, consider switching to one of Google's proprietary handsets, such as the Pixel, which tend to receive Google's software patches as soon as they're released.

"The fundamental issue with healthcare data is that it has enduring value to the cybercriminal", he says. "Now, a medical diagnosis or an X-ray, for instance, can not be cancelled so therefore it has enduring value". We'll get to some tips in a minute.

Greg Slabodkin is managing editor of Health Data Management.

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