5 ways to become a smaller target for ransomware hackers

"... Additionally, we are taking the highly unusual step of providing a security update for all customers to protect Windows platforms that are in custom support only, including Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003".

"The numbers are still going up", Wainwright said. "You've got to keep your systems updated".

And WannaCry threatens to create even more havoc on Monday when people return to work. As of the weekend, it had spread to China, and security experts say it could just be getting started.

"More action is needed, and it's needed now", he said.

Guinet was able to crack the encryption in his lab by finding the prime numbers that constitute the RSA private key used by WannaCry ransomware. For the older versions, such as Windows XP there is little hope.

After striking West Bengal Electricity utility, WannaCry ransomware has also struck Kerala's Wayanad Panchayat office.

From hospitals to telecom companies and even government agencies and business have been targeted by WannaCry, rendering their systems useless.The hackers lock data in such a way that users can not find a workaround and sometimes the pop-ups refuse to close, making it impossible to use the systems. Shortly after that disclosure, Microsoft announced that it had already issued software "patches", or fixes, for those holes - but many users haven't yet installed the fixes or are using older versions of Windows. Updating software will take care of some vulnerability.

"Whether or not you think the US government should be spending a fortune developing such cyber-weapons, surely it is obvious that the weapons they develop should be properly secured", said Phillip Hallam-Baker, principal scientist for New Jersey-based cybersecurity firm Comodo, in an emailed statement. The attack mostly impacted computers in Europe and Asia and for the most part spared North America.

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"The WannaCry ransomware may be exploiting a vulnerability in Server Message Block 1.0 (SMBv1)", the USCRT said. He didn't land up on the method accidentally and his fix only works for machines running Windows XP, still, it's a relief.

Check Point also highlighted the problematic payment and decryption system as well as a false demo of the decryption operation. Worse yet, some of the affected systems belonged to hospitals. With your data properly backed up, even in the event that your unit gets infected, all you have to do is to wipe the system clean, reinstall the OS, and bring back all of the data lost via backup.

IF HIT, DON'T WAIT AND SEE Some organizations disconnect computers as a precautionary measure.

Here's a guide from the Cyber Security Agency's SingCERT (Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team) on what to do if you become a victim.

The WannaCry infection stood out from earlier attacks for the speed with which it spread, and the way that the code was used to lock down infected computers until their users paid a ransom. Customers running anti-malware software from any number of security companies can confirm with their provider, that they are protected.

"You are dealing with a criminal", he said.

Individuals and organisations are discouraged from paying the ransom, as this does not guarantee access will be restored, USCERT has said.

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