Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

India seeks to avoid ATM tears from WannaCry ransomware

The flaw in Windows behind a huge cyber-attack affecting organisations around the world, including some United Kingdom hospitals, can be traced back to the US National Security Agency (NSA) - raising questions over the US government's decision to keep such flaws a secret. But there are a few things that businesses can do to limit the damage it causes. He says that when the NSA lost control of the software behind the cyberattack, it was like "the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

Cybersecurity firms report a spike in concerns from customers anxious about WannaCry since reports of the malware infecting computers surfaced this weekend.

The number of infections may have been slowed somewhat after a so-called "kill-switch" appears to have been triggered by a UK-based cyber-security researcher tweeting as @MalwareTechBlog. We are keeping a close watch. Sunnyvale-based security firm ProofPoint says one of its employees in France first noticed WannaCry's digital "signature" matched up with the purported NSA code leaked by the Shadow Brokers.

The Hitachi ATMs deployed by many White Label ATM players and Yes Bank were impacted by the malware.According to reports Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are highly vulnerable to such malware attacks as they presently run on old version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, making a software security patch update a necessary exercise.There are a total of 2.2 lakh ATMs in India, of which many old ones run on Windows XP.

The tool was said to have been created by the NSA - though, as is typical, the agency has neither confirmed nor denied this.

KASTE: And that's what the experts think they're seeing here with WannaCry.

"Out of that batch, it is probably a high-water mark", Manky said. Still, he said Microsoft should accept some responsibility. Even a poorly designed, weak piece of malware can do awful damage when directed at the most outdated computer networks.

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The vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows software - exploited by "WannaCrypt" - crippled computers across the world, with hackers demanding hundreds of dollars from the users for them to regain control over their data. "One of the country's largest oil companies, PetroChina, reported the attack had disrupted its electronic payment systems at its gas stations over the weekend".

"NSA should be embarrassed - they've had a lot of damaging leaks", said James Lewis, a former USA official who is now a cyber expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Usually, there are many different patches that need to go into the environment.

Keep your operating systems up to date. He says Chinese security companies have been offering their help.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the status of the review process.

It said "computer hardware and software that can no longer be supported should be replaced as a matter of urgency".

In Congress, Republican Senator Ron Johnson and Democratic Senator Brian Schatz are working on legislation that would codify the review process. "We have been in touch with Microsoft and others.even they have not got any reports", said director-general of Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) Sanjay Bahl.

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