*Microsoft is patching Windows XP … again

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Microsoft stopped support for Windows XP three years ago. It has ceased to release security updates to help secure the operating system … until last month. The WannaCry ransomware was devastating to computer networks that still use the popular OS. Most individual computer users either upgraded their machines, or simply unplugged their XP box from the Internet.

I have a buddy that has a large storehouse of personal photos on an XP unit. He still uses it as a place to work at home, and build his personal/family library of photos and diaries. For that machine, he has no use for the Internet. All his other computers that need Internet access use a more recent operating system.

And there are many more like him still having a need for an XP box that is still very productive.

But last month Microsoft released a security update for Windows XP to help protect against the WannaCry ransomware, and its potential variants.

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*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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*Ransomware Decryption Tools Available for Free

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Ransomware is a piece of malware that typically locks victim’s device using encryption and demands a fee to decrypt the important data.

The No More Ransom project has increased its abilities with new decryption tools added to its now global campaign to combat Ransomware.

No More Ransom is an anti-ransomware cross-industry initiative to help ransomware victims recover their data without having to pay ransom to cyber criminals. Started as a joint initiative by Europol, Intel, and Kaspersky Lab, it is now one of the most trusted websites designed to help overcome ransomware infections.

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*7 new IoT attacks ready to be launched

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The rapid spread of Internet connected devices into every facet of our lives will have consequences far beyond our current thinking.

Security-wise, the internet of things (IoT) is going as badly as most computer security experts predicted. In fact, most consumers don’t fully appreciate the potential threats IoT devices pose. Anything connected to the internet and running code can be taken over for malicious purposes.

Given the accelerating proliferation of internet-connected devices, we could be hurtling toward catastrophe. Personal security cameras, for example, were recently used to conduct the largest denial-of-service attacks the world has ever seen, not to mention allowing strangers to spy on the very people the cameras are supposed to protect.

Worse, the coming wave of IoT attacks includes those that could injure or kill people. This isn’t hypothetical. I’m talking about real attacks that are already possible today. And no one has done anything to make these attacks less likely to happen.

Following are seven next-wave attacks that we can expect to see soon.

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