*Here is How to Decrypt Your Files If You’ve Been Hit By WannaCry

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If you were a victim of the WannaCry ransomware attack it may be too late for you. But if you weren’t, and you think you could be when the next wave of attacks hit, then here’s how to deal with the problem.

A group of security researchers have created a tool that can help those hit by the massive attack decrypt their files without paying the ransom or wiping their device.

The Wanakiwi tool, as it is called, is capable of defeating the WannaCry ransomware, which encrypts a user’s files and demands a payment made in Bitcoin in order for the victim to regain access to their machine.

WannaCry hit more than 300,000 machines in 150 countries earlier this month, including computer systems of hospitals in England and major corporations around the world. Those attacks have slowed since the first wave, but have not stopped entirely. As an example, we recently learned that the Russian Postal System was severely hit as well.

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*Answers to 18 basic questions regarding WannaCry ransomware

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The WannaCry ransomware attack dominated tech headlines through the weekend. According to Europol,  WannaCry infected  200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, tied the UK health service in knots, knocked out the Spanish phone company, troubled train travelers in Germany, and took big swipes out of FedEx, Renault, a reported 29,000 Chinese institutions, and networks all over Russia—including the Russian Interior Ministry.

Although it looks like the worm started spreading on Thursday night (5-11-17), the real effects started showing up the next day on Friday.

For the most part, people are asking basic questions.

Here is what I have learned so far:

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* Are average computer users a factor in the WannaCry ransomware attack?

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Cybersecurity experts are clamoring to contain the massive global ransomware attack that infected several hundred thousand computers over the weekend in more than 150 countries. While the attacks have mainly struck large businesses, should the smaller home user be concerned?

The attack that began on Friday — known as WannaCry — is believed to be the largest cyber exploitation attack recorded. It was responsible for crippling Britain’s hospital network and Germany’s railway, along with other governments and infrastructures worldwide. And oddly, Russia seems to be the worst hit of all affected countries.

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*Massive Cyber-attack spreads across 74 countries

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Tens of thousands of ransomware attacks are targeting organizations around the world on Friday. The Cyber-attacks that hit 74 countries across Europe and Asia Friday, impacting the public health system in Britain, apparently involved a leaked hacking tool from the National Security Agency.

Security firm Kaspersky Lab has recorded more than 45,000 attacks in 74 countries in the past 10 hours, with many of the attacks targeting Russia.

The attack used ransomware, which is malware that encrypts data and locks a user from their data until they pay a ransom. The tool, which was leaked by a group known as Shadow Brokers, had been stolen from the N.S.A. as part of a wide swath of tools illegally released in 2016.

The ransomware, called “WannaCry,” locks down all the files on an infected computer and asks the computer’s administrator to pay in order to regain control of them. Researchers say it is spreading through a Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) Windows exploit called “EternalBlue,” which Microsoft released a patch for in March.

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*Extensive Breach of Medical Records Leaves 918K seniors vulnerable

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Cybercriminals want your private data … as much as they can get. Why? Because they can sell it to online advertisers (like Google, Facebook & Microsoft), as well as other hackers for all kinds of nefarious uses.

What we’re talking about is an extensive data breach that was recently discovered. A database belonging to the telemarketing company, HealthNow Networks, was found after being stolen and uploaded to the internet. The company provides equipment and medical supplies to patients with diabetes.

The personal information of nearly 1 million patients was left exposed online. Unprotected data included:

  • Patient names
  • Social Security numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Physical addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Health insurance information
  • Health condition information including medications and required equipment

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* Automated Scripts Allow Hackers to Attack Every 39 Seconds

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In the movies most hackers have been portrayed as people with grudges who target specific institutions and manually try to hack into their computers. But in reality, most of these attacks employ automated scripts that indiscriminately seek out thousands of computers at a time, looking for vulnerabilities.

You may not be a major corporation that is an easily identifiable target for hackers, but your computers, even home computers, are constantly under attack.

The automated scripts simply run through hundreds of thousands of IP addresses and probe computer systems until it finds an open door. This opening is usually an unchanged administrative password or a system without a secure firewall.

A Clark School study at the University of Maryland is one of the first to quantify the near-constant rate of hacker attacks of computers with Internet access—every 39 seconds on average—and the non-secure usernames and passwords we use that give attackers more chance of success.

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* Smart-TV’s and Refrigerators can Be Used to Attack Businesses

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We all remember last October’s massive Internet hack using ordinary household Internet connected devices. The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more and more a favorite tool of hackers.

Those devices which ranged from webcams, to security systems, to home appliances, were victims to the Mirai bug. This bug was easily planted because homeowners seldom change the passwords or log-in credentials of ordinary household appliances.

But many people are still scratching their heads…. ‘Can my baby monitor or my refrigerator actually bring down the Internet?’

While IT experts have long predicted security risks associated with the rapidly proliferating Internet of Things (IoT), this is the first time the industry has reported actual proof of such a cyber-attack involving common appliances. And now with the Mirai attack in October 2016, the methodology has gone mainstream.

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