STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Researcher finds 'kill switch' for cyber attack ransomeware

The researcher, tweeting as @MalwareTechBlog, said the discovery was accidental, but that registering a domain name used by the malware stops it from spreading.

Published: 13th May 2017 10:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th May 2017 12:30 PM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only.

By AFP

HONGKONG: A cyber security researcher appears to have discovered a "kill switch" that can prevent the spread of the WannaCry ransomware -- for now -- that has caused the cyber attacks wreaking havoc globally, they told AFP Saturday.

The researcher, tweeting as @MalwareTechBlog, said the discovery was accidental, but that registering a domain name used by the malware stops it from spreading.

"Essentially they relied on a domain not being registered and by registering it, we stopped their malware spreading," @MalwareTechBlog told AFP in a private message on Twitter.

The researcher warned however that people "need to update their systems ASAP" to avoid attack.

"The crisis isn't over, they can always change the code and try again," @MalwareTechBlog said.

Friday's wave of cyberattacks, which affected dozens of countries, apparently exploited a flaw exposed in documents leaked from the US National Security Agency.

The attacks used a technique known as ransomware that locks users' files unless they pay the attackers a designated sum in the virtual currency Bitcoin.

Affected by the onslaught were computer networks at hospitals in Britain, Russia's interior ministry, the Spanish telecom giant Telefonica and the US delivery firm FedEx and many other organisations.

"I will confess that I was unaware registering the domain would stop the malware until after I registered it, so initially it was accidental," @MalwareTechBlog tweeted.

Unfortunately however, computers already affected will not be helped by the solution.

"So long as the domain isn't revoked, this particular strain will no longer cause harm, but patch your systems ASAP as they will try again."

The malware's name is WCry, but analysts were also using variants such as WannaCry.

Forcepoint Security Labs said in a Friday statement that the attack had "global scope" and was affecting networks in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Mexico.

In the United States, FedEx acknowledged it had been hit by malware and was "implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible."

Also badly hit was Britain's National Health Service, which declared a "major incident" after the attack, which forced some hospitals to divert ambulances and scrap operations.

Pictures posted on social media showed screens of NHS computers with images demanding payment of $300 (275 euros) in Bitcoin, saying: "Ooops, your files have been encrypted!"

It demands payment in three days or the price is doubled, and if none is received in seven days, the files will be deleted, according to the screen message.

A hacking group called Shadow Brokers released the malware in April claiming to have discovered the flaw from the NSA, according to Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity provider.

Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu cited 45,000 attacks in 74 countries as of Friday evening.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

edexworks
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp