WannaCry Victims Were Mostly Running Windows 7

They are having more luck dissecting flaws that limited its spread. It sounds insane, but we're going to need strategies against attacks like these and more.

"Some organisations just aren't aware of the risks; some don't want to risk interrupting important business processes; sometimes they are short-staffed", said Ziv Mador, vice president of security research at Trustwave's Israeli SpiderLabs unit. This being much more serious issue and in addition to that users should never allow the execution of unauthorized software on a server, the security and updates of these are much more critical and direct responsibility of system administrators.

Data from BitSight covering 160,000 internet-connected computers hit by WannaCry, shows that Windows 7 accounts for 67 percent of infections, although it represents less than half of the global distribution of Windows PC users.

That said, Wanakiwi has been successfully tested on every affected system, from Windows XP to Windows 7, including Windows 2003, Vista and 2008, according to Suiche.

What they are working on is reducing the size of updates so they are faster and cheaper to download in markets like South Africa. "Windows users and administrators should ensure that their systems are updated with the latest security patches to help prevent further infections and to slow the spread of the ransomware". The operating was released in 2009 and has seen regular updates by Microsoft including the one to patch the ransomware vulnerability.

"WannaCry itself did not support Windows XP", Raui said, noting that the exploit neither focused on XP or reliably worked on the 2001 operating system. But it's evidently true: The hacking tools that allowed the so-called WannaCry ransomware to work included an NSA-found vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that homed in on older versions of Windows.

Referencing Microsoft ditching support for Windows XP in 2014 - despite the software remaining in widespread public and private use - Omand asked: "Should Microsoft have stopped supporting Windows XP so soon, knowing that institutions had invested heavily in it (at the urging of the company at the time)?".

Seeking to head off further criticism in the wake of the WannaCry outbreak, the United States software giant last weekend released a free patch for Windows XP and other older Windows versions that it previously only offered to paying customers. It stated, "WannaCrypt exploits used in the attack were drawn from the exploits stolen from the National Security Agency, or NSA, in the United States".

It appears that it only took a couple of months for malicious hackers to make good on that prediction. The attack affected many organizations, but was especially prevalent in the healthcare industry. This malicious program infects an entire network.

How can you tell if a computer is infected?

Last Saturday, an anonymous researcher in the United Kingdom was able to activate a "kill switch" in Wannacry's code by registering a long, convoluted domain name (the url of a website is also known as its domain) found buried there. Failing to meet their deadlines might result in permanent loss of files.

What to do if your computer is infected?

That date is significant since WannaCry threatens to begin permanently locking users' files if they haven't paid a ransom of about $300 (£230) in Bitcoin a week after the initial infection.

We have said it on several occasions, but we repeat it once again.

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