IT

Russian banks was attacked by a unsafe virus-the extortioner

Russian banks was attacked by a unsafe virus-the extortioner

Who's being targeted for blame?

Microsoft itself is unlikely to face legal trouble over the flaw in Windows being exploited by WannaCry, according to legal experts. The exploit, codenamed EternalBlue, is alleged to have been part of the arsenal of the Equation, a cyberespionage group widely believed to be a team linked to the U.S. National Security Agency.

According to Bloomberg, a year ago an acute-care hospital in Hollywood paid $17,000 in bitcoin to an extortionist who hijacked its computer systems and forced doctors and staff to revert to pen and paper for record-keeping. This is because of the of the much sophisticated systems India has used since long than what is being used by the global community.

Here are some of the key players in the attack and what may - or may not - be their fault.

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As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought a rearguard battle against ransomware hackers, officials and experts on Sunday urged organizations and companies to update operating systems immediately to ensure they aren't vulnerable to a second, more powerful version of the software - or to future versions that can't be stopped. So it makes sense to assign some responsibility to the NSA - the attackers didn't come up with this security hole on their own, after all.

In a statement, the central bank said the consequences of the attack - which it did not detail - had been dealt with quickly. "We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world".

The ACLU, meanwhile, urged Congress to pass a law requiring the government to disclose vulnerabilities to companies "in a timely manner", so that they can patch them as soon as possible. Microsoft issued a security update in March that stops WannaCry and other malware in Windows 7. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from it, and most other versions of ransomware.

Still, it was Microsoft that wrote the exploitable software to begin with.

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Microsoft ended up distributing the free patch for the older versions on Friday - the day the ransomware was detected.

A former United Kingdom spy chief has hit out at Microsoft for cutting support for its Windows XP system that could have protected public services from massive cyberattacks such as the one that paralyzed the National Health Service (NHS) last week. And just as they are unlikely to pay for an upgrade to their operating systems, they may not want to - or be able to - pay for security fixes. He noted, however, the complexity that can be involved in patching a security hole.

This includes whitelisting certain websites and software so only approved programs can run on a computer, or disabling administrative privileges on a company's machines so that only the IT department can download programs. Backups often are also out of date and missing critical information. Robinson, in an interview by email, said he calculated the total based on payments tracked to Bitcoin addresses specified in the ransom demands. Asked what the company is doing to prevent such exploitations, he cited "basic IT security blocking and tackling".

Efforts by IT security researchers to get to the bottom of the recent ransomware attack have been hampered by an inability to find early traces of the so-called WannaCry strain, according to research commissioned by Reuters and conducted by security ratings firm BitSight.

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