Ransomware WannaCry to attack Indian banking system soon: Cyber expert

Cyber attack may have links to North Korea

Security experts are studying a computer software virus that has affected computers in at least 150 countries.

The use of that domain is being called a "kill switch" in the malware.

Although the ransomware continued to spread at a more subdued pace yesterday, many companies and government agencies were still struggling to recover from the first attack. WannaCry shut down ATM machines across China and crippled hospitals in Great Britain. But because so many companies didn't apply it, the so-called WannaCry attack spread like cholera. A recent study by Oxford Economics and consultancy CGI found that breaches of cybersecurity eroded the share prices of companies pretty much permanently. Authorities recommended that victims not pay, but even a small fraction of successful ransoms would net the attackers a considerable amount of money.

For instance, the Conficker virus, which first appeared in 2008 and can disable system security features, also spreads through vulnerabilities in internal file sharing.

A senior researcher from South Korea's Hauri Labs, Simon Choi, said on Tuesday the reclusive state had been developing and testing ransomware programs only since August.

"I still expect another to pop up and be fully operational", Kalember said.

At the same time, Weber noted that the attack could prompt more people to shun digital technology and turn back to analog systems that can't be hacked. That's when criminals hide malware inside the code of a legitimate website that is then downloaded onto any computer that visits the site.

The effects of the ransomware attack were felt around the world, affecting computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in several countries. It's about what intelligence agencies, like the CIA and the NSA, need to do.

The software company released security updates in March to address certain vulnerabilities that these WannaCry attacks are exploiting. (These are the most important patches that the company recommends users install immediately).

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Yes, WannaCry 2.0 does exploit a vulnerability in older versions of Windows, but Microsoft issued a patch to deal with the problem well before this malware exploded across the web.

Microsoft effectively confirmed analysts' diagnosis that the ransomware known as "WannaCry" was created to exploit NSA software that was leaked earlier this year by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers. Last week, someone pulled the trigger. Ransom payments have been demanded in the cryptocurrency bitcoin in 28 languages.

As of Monday afternoon, about $58,000 had accumulated in the accounts, according to the British cybersecurity firm Elliptic Enterprises Ltd. Some people operate bitcoin "tumbler" services that claim to launder dirty digital money.

"Who's culpable are the criminals that distributed it and the criminals that weaponized it", Bossert said.

In the US, where the effects haven't appeared to be widespread, investigators believe additional companies have been attacked but have not yet come forward to report it, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

Those clues could point to it being the work of an established group, he said, but there was little sign of any tell-tale text in the version now circulating.

"Informally minor instances have been reported but they are like a drop in the ocean", said Aruna Sundararajan, secretary, ministry of electronics and IT.

Bitcoin was not as anonymous as many thieves would like it to be, he said, because every transaction was publicly recorded in the blockchain.

A researcher from Google posted on Twitter that an early version of WannaCrypt from February shared some of the same programming code as malicious software used by the Lazarus Group, the alleged North Korean government hackers behind the destructive attack on Sony Corp in 2014 and the theft of US$81 million from a Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Fed previous year.

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