What we know about the global cyberattack

What we know about the global cyberattack

That means the very first attempts to reach that address, which might have been recorded by spy agencies such as the NSA or Russian intelligence, could lead to "patient zero" — the first computer infected with WannaCry.

Those who do shouldn't expect a quick response - or any response at all.

The hackers sent another chilling message the day before the deadline which stated that full payment - using bitcoins - would guarantee full decryption for what they described as "honest customers". In 2015, some estimated $24 million was paid to unlock computers, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation; in 2016, it hit a dazzling $1 billion. "It's better for [the victims] to save their money and rebuild the affected computers".

Tom Bossert, assistant to the United States president for homeland security and counterterrorism, has said that less than $70,000 has been paid to the hackers, and that he was not aware of any payments that led to data recovery.

The infection strikes by encrypting all the files on the PC and then displaying a ransom note demanding US$300 or $600 in bitcoin. If payment is not made after seven days, the encrypted files will be deleted. One commenter on Troy Hunt's blog said they paid and did not get their files back.

"A manual human operator must activate decryption", Matthew Hickey, a cyber-security researcher at UK-based firm Hacker House stated post the attacks. "To buy a bitcoin in India, most (bitcoin) wallets need PAN and other KYC details to authenticate an account", said Shree Parthasarathy, partner at Deloitte, adding that it would take about 48 hours to load a bitcoin wallet through startups such as Zebpay, Coinsecure, and Unocoin. "It's one of the tools in their pockets", said cybersecurity and Bitcoin expert Florin Lazurca, the senior technical marketing manager for security at Citrix Systems. Instead, users are left with a button on the displayed ransom note that says "check payment". But, said Bossert, "I don't want to say that we have no clues". Their failure to decrypt files even after users have paid serves as a very salient lesson to anyone effected by ransomware: there is little benefit in paying the ransom.

However, Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at security vendor F-Secure, tweeted on Monday that some victims who paid did get their files back.

The main source of the ransomware problem is not so much Bitcoin, it's insecure computers.

Check Point has identified three Bitcoin addresses associated with WannaCry - and this is the cause for concern.

In total, the hackers behind WannaCry made $69,535 by Tuesday morning, as payments continued to flow in.

"If it was done for money, it wasn't the smartest way to get it", he said.

Generally speaking, media coverage of the bitcoin ransom demands could actually spur more mainstream adoption of the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Casinos offer the same selection of casino games as traditional online casinos do and, in most cases, there is a great variety to choose from. This might feel like anti-climax for a global cyber attack which affected government offices, school and hospitals among many, but is a well thought move. The coins are created by users who "mine" them by lending computing power to verify other users' transactions. The fact that there was a "kill switch" in the ransomware, which a researcher was able to activate on Friday, stopping the attack at least temporarily, suggests the coders were sloppy.

A reminder: Updating Windows with the latest security patch can successfully inoculate any computer that has not already been infected.

"The implementation of the encryption was pretty rock solid", said Symantec's Thakur. Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) is urging victims not to pay the ransom.

You could run Microsoft's free anti- virus software for Windows.

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