Microsoft Releases 'Highly Unusual' Windows XP Patch As Ransomware Attack Spreads

Microsoft release Wannacrypt patch for unsupported Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003

Microsoft release Wannacrypt patch for unsupported Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003

It asked for a ransom payment of $300 in bitcoin to unlock the computer. It also spreads through malicious attachments to e-mails.

"We have been in touch with Microsoft and others.even they have not got any reports", Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), director general, Sanjay Bahl told PTI.

"WannaCry" has disrupted networks in over 150 countries, including Russian Federation and the United Kingdom and is being termed as one of the most widespread cyber attacks in the history.

That exploit was in turn one of those used to create the WannaCry ransomware program which can rapidly spread itself from computer network to computer network. So far, he said, not many people have paid the ransom demanded by the malware. Customers running anti-malware software from any number of security companies can confirm with their provider, that they are protected. "This most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today - nation-state action and organized criminal action", he added. Because numerous computers impacted run older Windows systems like XP, Microsoft issued a rare patch for XP, which it had stopped updating more than three years ago. For those organizations who have not yet applied the security update, we suggest you immediately deploy Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010.

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Many people in fact believe someone at NSA must have tipped Microsoft that the files had been stolen, which is how it knew it needed to push out that particular patch, said Ryan Kalember of Proofpoint, a Sunnyvale, Calif. -based security firm whose researchers were instrumental in fighting the the WannaCry attack. The company rates the update as "critical" for supported Windows releases. This attack has impacted many large services and organizations, including hospitals in England, a telecom and natural gas company in Spain, and FedEx. A kill switch was quickly found, but an updated version reportedly lacks the kill switch.

If you don't already have a backup routine, start now and regularly save copies of all your files.

British cybersecurity expert Graham Cluley doesn't want to blame the NSA for the attack. "This attack is a powerful reminder that information technology basics like keeping computers current and patched are a high responsibility for everyone, and it's something every top executive should support". "But there's clearly some culpability on the part of the US intelligence services". The tools appeared stolen by hackers, who dumped them on the internet.

He said most people "are living an online life", and these agencies have a duty to protect their countries' citizens in that realm as well. "It's a handy thing to have, but it's a unsafe thing to have". Our key direction to you is to remember that we are in this with our customers - we are trusted advisors, counselors, and suppliers to them. "And that's what's happening right now".

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