What is WannaCry? What does WannaCry ransomware do?

Who's being targeted for blame?

In what one of the most significant cyberattacks ever recorded, computer systems from the U.K.to Russia, Brazil and the US were hit beginning Friday by malicious software that exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows operating system.

"Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage". It urged all banks in the country to take precautions against the ransomware. The malware spread through phishing attacks, malicious emails and infected attachments, encrypting every file it can on a computer and then posting a landing page demanding a $300 ransom payment in Bitcoin in order for the files to be unlocked. Over the weekend, the firm chose to also release a similar patch for the XP system which the firm announced in 2014, it was no longer going to support. "Microsoft can't be proud".

The ransomware, known as Wannacry, has affected thousands of establishments across the globe, encrypting their data and asking for money to decrypt it. CERT-In, the government's cyber security arm, has maintained that apart from five or six isolated instances, there are no reports of a substantial scale to indicate that Indian systems have been hit.

Microsoft is blaming the US government.

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Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, explicitly told clients to update their software, but also pointed a finger at the National Security Agency and the governments that tech firms have conflicted over privacy issues. Chennai-based lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank said it had to close 611 of its 972 ATMs for upgrade.

Microsoft Headquarters, Redmond. A patch for the vulnerability was released 2 months ago on March 14th. Certainly, other major state-run organisations have also been hit by the ransomware, including German railway company Deutsche Bahn and the US Department of Homeland Security.

"While it would be satisfying to hold accountable those responsible for this hack - something that we are working on quite seriously - the worm is in the wild, so to speak, at this point, and patching is the most important message as a result", said Bossert.

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

The one consistent thing here is that it is Microsoft Windows that is vulnerable - or, at least, out of date versions of the operating system. It is best to take precautionary steps like taking regular back-ups on a hard drive and keeping the software and operating system up-to-date.

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