Category: Tech Updates

Massive WanaCrypt0r Ransomware Attack Hits 99 Countries Around The world

Massive WanaCrypt0r Ransomware Attack Hits 99 Countries Around The world

The malicious software WanaCryptor which is also known as WCry is now being used to carry out one of the biggest ransomware attacks of its kind. Dozens of countries have been affected by this ransomware attack. The attack locks up computers and holds users’ documents for ransom.

If we look back at August 2016, The hackers group named “The Shadow Brokers” claims to have penetrated an NSA-backed hacking operation. The group of hackers claimed that they have hacked into “Equation Group” which is a cyber attack group widely believed to be associated with NSA.

Earlier this year, the hacking group have decided to give away hacked tools and files for free. They took it to medium and shared the password to unlock the encrypted folder of files to the public.

Well, the hacking tools that were stolen from the NSA can be used for hacking computers running on Microsoft windows. The malicious software WanaCryptor 2.0 which is also known as WCry is now being used to carry out one of the biggest ransomware attacks of its kind.

Well, Dozens of countries have been affected by this ransomware attack. The attack locks up computers and holds users’ documents for ransom. The more shocking thing is, the ransomware is targeting multiple companies, government agencies, and even hospitals.

Security researchers at Avast have recorded over 57,000 detections of WanaCryptor 2.0 ransomware in 99 countries. Let me tell you, after the attack, the ransom being demanded is $300 worth of bitcoins.

Well, the attack displays a message which instructs how to pay the ransom, explanation of the attack and a timer. Here’s the message:

Wanadecrypt0r

According to Avast security blog “The ransomware is mainly being targeted to Russia, Ukraine, and Taiwan, but the ransomware has successfully infected major institutions, like hospitals across England and Spanish telecommunications company, Telefonica.”

Avast security blog says “We saw the first version of WanaCrypt0r in February and now the ransomware is available in 28 different languages, from languages like Bulgarian to Vietnamese.”

This malware is spreading by exploiting a vulnerability called EternalBlue. The scam might be spreading because of phishing emails with malicious attachments that infect users computers when they click on them. Well, the official government says that not to pay those criminals behind such attacks.

Well, Avast security blog reported that good antivirus program can detect all known version of WanaCryptor 2.0. However, they also recommended users to fully update their system with the latest available patches.

Just now we have also seen Reserve Bank of India has shut down some ATMs all over the India as a preventive measure against the ransomware and had also asked banks to put in place a software update at ATMs.

check out the video of Wnnacry live propogation in system:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrw5qkqKGXQ

 

How it works:

WannaCry is a form of ransomware that locks up files on your computer and encrypts them in a way that you cannot access them anymore.

It targets Microsoft’s widely used Windows operating system.

When a system is infected, a pop-up window appears with instructions on how to pay a ransom amount of $300.

The pop-up also features two countdown clocks; one showing a three-day deadline before the ransom amount doubles to $600; another showing a deadline of when the target will lose its data forever.

Payment is only accepted in bitcoin.

The ransomware’s name is WCry, but analysts are also using variants such as WannaCry.

A hacking group called Shadow Brokers released the malware in April claiming to have discovered the flaw from the US’ National Security Agency (NSA), according cyber-security providers.

How it spreads:

Ransomware is a programme that gets into your computer, either by clicking or downloading malicious files. It then holds your data as ransom.

Some security researchers say the infections in the case of WannaCry seem to be deployed via a worm, spreading by itself within a network rather than relying on humans to spread it by clicking on an infected attachment.

The programme encrypts your files and demands payment in order to regain access.

Security experts warn there is no guarantee that access will be granted after payment.

Some forms of ransomware execute programmes that can lock your computer entirely, only showing a message to make payment in order to log in again.

Others create pop-ups that are difficult or impossible to close, rendering the machine difficult or impossible to use.

Steps on how to avoid Ransomware

1. Backup your computer immediately

Investing in an external hard drive and making regular backups will help you in protecting your data, if not in saving you against malware.A data backup can save you from significant stress, time and money in the event when your computer becomes infected.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to a cloud backup service and upload your most important data regularly. Free cloud services like Google Drive, Apple iCloud or Dropbox can also be used to store your most valuable data without spending a dime.

2. Immediately patch your Windows with Microsoft’s recently released fix

This Ransomware spread through a weakness in Microsoft Windows which was formerly exploited by US surveillance agency NSA.

This tool, unfortunately, was leaked in April 2017 and is now being used by hackers behind Wanna Cry Ransomware.

In response, Microsoft released a fix for this vulnerability which can be applied by those who are still safe from Wanna Cry Ransomware.

3. Update your operating system

Though Microsoft did release a fix for the vulnerability; we still do not know if any similar vulnerabilities still exist in the OS. In this case, it is necessary that you update your OS to the latest version, preferably Windows 10, as soon as you can.

4. Steer clear of suspicious emails and websites

Phishing emails are not uncommon, any email containing links or files can grant malware access to your computer therefore keep your eyes open and steer clear from any such emails.

Ransomware can also infect computers via malicious website advertisements or through the installation of unverified software. The best defense in such cases is to avoid any such website or software links as they may lead to the installation of malware or Ransomware program.

5. Use Firewall

Using a firewall can stop ransomware from entering your system. A firewall guards your online communications and makes sure that no suspicious or unauthorized program access your computer without your consent.

It is necessary that you keep your firewall software updated at all times, so you remain safe from any recent forms of malware. Also, make sure not to approve any suspicious files from bypassing your firewall security and entering your system.

6. Don’t pay

One thing that you must remember is that paying ransomware does not guarantee its removal from your computer. Giving in to the hacker’s demand and paying the ransomware amount only gives attackers the arsenal they need to create and spread more ransomware programs.

You should instead try restoring a pre-infection backup of your computer. If a backup is not available, but the files are important for you or your business, seek the help of a computer professional. Don’t give in.

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KEEP YOUR SYSTEM SAFE

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches platform called Wikitribune to tackle fake news

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches platform called Wikitribune to tackle fake news

Jimmy Wales, the founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, has launched a website aimed at countering the spread of fake news by bringing together professional journalists and a community of volunteers and supporters to produce news articles. The new platform, called Wikitribune, will be free to access and carry no advertising, instead relying on its readers to fund it, while the accuracy of news reports will be easily verifiable as source material will be published, Wales said.

“The news is broken, but we’ve figured out how to fix it,” he said in a promotional video posted on the website’s homepage. The online proliferation of fake news, some of it generated for profit and some for political ends, became a major topic of angst and debate in many developed countries during last year’s U.S. presidential election. Wales argued in his video that because people expected to get news for free on the Internet, news sites were reliant on advertising money, which created strong incentives to generate so-called “clickbait”, catchy headlines to attract viewers.

“This is a problem because ads are cheap, competition for clicks is fierce and low-quality news sources are everywhere,” said Wales. He also argued that social media networks, where an ever-increasing number of people get their news, were designed to show users what they wanted to see, confirm their biases and keep them clicking at all costs. Social media giant Facebook was widely criticized last year for not doing enough to prevent fake news reports from spreading on its platform, and has announced new tools to tackle the problem.

Wales said Wikitribune would combine professional, standards-based journalism with what he called “the radical idea from the world of wiki that a community of volunteers can and will reliably protect the integrity of information”. He said articles would be authored, fact-checked and verified by journalists and volunteers working together, while anyone would be able to flag up issues and submit fixes for review. “As the facts are updated, the news becomes a living, evolving artifact, which is what the Internet was made for,” he said. The Wikitribune homepage said the platform would go live in 29 days. It also indicated that the intention was to hire 10 journalists, but none had been hired so far.

IAMAI report says that Delhi is the most internet ready state in India

IAMAI report says that Delhi is the most internet ready state in India

Delhi has emerged as the top state in terms of internet readiness with a strong position in areas like e-infrastructure, e-participation, IT environment, government e-services, a report by industry body IAMAI today said. The report titled Index of Internet Readiness of Indian States published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Nielsen, noted that Delhi takes the first slot among all states and is followed by Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Chandigarh is ranked second in both e-infrastructure and e-participation. Puducherry ranks after Chandigarh on the e-infrastructure index. “We are hopeful that India will leapfrog from the present 155th position to worlds top 5th in connectivity, within the next 5-6 years,” Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said.

“India today is one of the most rapidly digitising economies in the world with the telecom industry leading the change. Things have improved multifold with state governments of Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana among others taking proactive steps to improve connectivity and internet reach,” Sundararajan said. Among the northeastern states, Nagaland tops the list, closely followed by Manipur and Tripura, though these states rank low in terms of overall internet readiness.

The report found that Karnataka, Delhi, and Maharashtra are the top three states with the highest number of digital start-ups. It noted that of the total 242 start-up incubators in the country, 61 start-up incubators are in Tamil Nadu. About 83 percent of these incubators are in 10 states — Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Delhi, and Rajasthan.

In the North East, except for Manipur where a single start-up incubator is present, none of the other states have one.
“The combination of various indigenous digital platforms along with innovative and disruptive startups holds the greatest scope for digital transformation in India. Post demonetisation, the country today has 3 million points of sale (POS) as compared to 1.5 lakhs POS earlier which is clearly a transformation,” added Sundararajan.

Analysts predicted that Apple will be worth at least $824 billion in 2017

Analysts predicted that Apple will be worth at least $824 billion in 2017

Benefiting from its expensive ‘plus’ models and rising demands of its products, Apple Inc will be worth at least $824 billion this year, analysts have predicted. Apple’s shares already soared more than 16 percent to fresh highs during the second quarter but analysts are optimistic the stock has much more room to grow, MarketWatch reported on Monday.

Canada-based global investment bank RBC Capital Markets on Monday lifted its 12-month price target to $157 from $155 and reiterated an outperform rating. That would increase Apple’s market capitalisation to $824 billion from $740 billion currently. Apple’s stock hit a record high of $144.77 on April 4, the report said.

RBC analyst Amit Daryanani also increased his March-quarter iPhone estimates and fiscal 2017 revenue estimates, saying trends indicate consumer preference for Apple’s more expensive plus models, which have contributed positively to average selling prices. While the company’s third-quarter outlook “could come modestly below estimates” as consumers delay planned upgrades ahead of the iPhone 8 launch in September, its large installed base and attractive valuation make it worthy of investment despite muted expectations.

Analyst at Pacific Crest Andy Hargreaves suggested that Apple is struggling with the optical fingerprint functionality expected on the OLED iPhone, which could lead to delays or the removal of it. “While this creates some risk of production delays, at this point we do not believe it materially threatens volume through the coming iPhone cycle,” Hargreaves was quoted as saying.

According to a report in USA Today, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believed that Apple, Google and Facebook will be bigger in 2075 and dominate the world. Shares of Apple inched 0.6 percent higher to $141.12 on Monday. The company will announce its earnings for the second fiscal quarter (first calendar quarter) of 2017 on May 2. Apple had $246.1 billion cash at the end of its last fiscal quarter.