Published: Tue, May 23, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Free WannaCry Ransomware Decryption Tool Released

Free WannaCry Ransomware Decryption Tool Released

The WannaCry ransomware demanded a payment of about $300 or £230 in bitcoins after encrypting files.

In the United Kingdom, some hospitals had to turn away patients as the worm shut down computer systems.

The researchers cautioned that their solution only works in certain conditions, namely if computers had not been rebooted since becoming infected and if victims applied the fix before WannaCry carried out its threat to lock their files permanently. The operating system accounts for roughly four times as many users as Windows 10 worldwide. I think there is good reason to believe that numerous affected machines in business and government were vulnerable because the institutions involved use old versions of Windows. Matt Suiche of Comae Technologies has offered a few examples of how to manually decrypt your WannaCry-affected files using WanaKiwi.

According to Costin Raiu, a researcher at Moscow-based security firm Kaspersky Lab, 98 percent of all WannaCry-infected systems appear to be running the Windows 7 operating system. It became clear quite early on that the ransomware was hitting older Windows systems hard (Windows 10 wasn't affected), with a lot of talk focusing on the number of at-risk Windows XP systems still in service. The cyber security provider warned against using the means of decryption offered on the Internet or received in emails, as WannaCry's encryption algorithm cannot be decoded with existing methods, which, worse still, may cause even greater harm to the infected computer and others connected to it, thus accelerating the propagation. Now, it's confirmed that Wannakey works on Windows XP, 7, 2003, Vista, and Server 2008.

Image Kaspersky Lab
Image Kaspersky Lab

But Islanders and Jersey-based businesses are still being urged to "ensure they are protected" after the infection of more than 250,000 organisations by the WannaCry virus last weekend. The ransomware in the news now is known as WannaCry or WannaCrypt. At that point, they should be able to recover the main key that was used to encrypt all systems, he says.

In addition, we must not forget that Windows 7 has less than 3 years left, so the sooner we update the sooner we start avoiding new computer attacks or be left exposed once the extended support cycle is over.

Security researchers Adrien Guinet and Benjamin Delpy had, over the weekend, claimed to have found a way to recover the unknown encryption keys used by the ransomware. What we do know is that Windows 7 systems were impacted at a substantially higher rate than machines running Microsoft's other operating systems.

There is no guarantee that WanaKiwi will work on all infected computers but there is a good chance that it will decrypt many of them.

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