CREDIT SUISSE: The WannaCry ransomware attack could give Microsoft's stock a boost

CREDIT SUISSE: The WannaCry ransomware attack could give Microsoft's stock a boost

"The recent global ransomware attack exploiting a flaw in Windows, while serious, not only demonstrates the continued ubiquity of Microsoft, but also highlights that numerous affected enterprises or entities that are still using older, and now unsupported, versions of Windows need to accelerate their plans to upgrade to Windows 10", analyst Michael Nemeroff wrote in a note to clients Monday entitled "If you're not current, you're toast". It was patched by Microsoft at the time, but older versions of Windows or those without Windows Update were left open to attacks.

Crackers used the loophole present in Microsoft SMB Protocol to spread this program to other computers. UN's Head of Global Cyber Crime, Neil Walsh, said Bitcoin could be used as a way of tracing these hackers, since the malware locked computers by showing a message that requires the user to send £230 ($300) to restore access to files. But it did create something something almost as bad: Windows Vista, an operating system so horrendously bloated, broken, and altogether unpleasant to use that many PC users back in 2007 skipped upgrading altogether, opting instead to stick with the outdated Windows XP, a decision that has left many people on that decade-and-a-half-old operating system even today, years after Microsoft stopped updating it. Security Update KB401258 protects vulnerable Windows and Windows Server editions, including Windows 8, Vista, XP and Windows Server 2003 and 2008. Hackers are said to have stolen the tools from the NSA and distributed them via Internet. There are numerous ransomware kits available through the dark web which can be bought and used to anyone's advantage, if they know what they are doing. "We have seen earlier that black hats would mainly attack and deface Indian websites but now the objective is mainly money". The most affected are America shipping companies and healthcare systems in the United Kingdom.

There has been a brisk debate over who is to blame for the spread of WannaCry.

The tools behind the attack originated within the NSA.

If your device or network is infected by WannaCry or other ransomware, do not automatically pay the ransom. Moreover, in addition to Symantec, researchers at Google and Kaspersky Lab confirmed the coding similarities, the Times reports. It appears to have hit first in Britain, where it effectively shut down parts of the #National Health Service.

He continued, "This ransomworm moves laterally inside the network and encrypts every PC and server, including the organization's backup".

FedEx, French automaker Renault and Spanish telecommunications firm Telefonica are among those attacked.

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A young cyber security researcher had accidentally found the kill switch of the ransomware by sheer luck and purchased an unregistered domain name for $10.69 in order to stop the attack.

Microsoft is pointing the finger at the USA government, while some experts say the software giant is accountable too.

Windows XP is so old, however, that Microsoft stopped updating it several years ago.

According to numerous reports, WannaCry exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was purportedly identified by the U.S. National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes. Security patches would be available for clients with older machines, but only if they paid for custom support agreements.

Want to keep your computers safe?

Smith says cyberweapons require a new approach, and governments must "consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".

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