Reading List: WannaCry and Ransomware

A good bit has been written about the recent WannaCry outbreak over the last few weeks; rather than stringing the best out through Worth Reading posts, I have collected the three best posts on the topic here.

There are a number of takeaways and lessons to learn from the far-reaching attack that we witnessed. Let me tie those to voluntary cooperation and collaboration which together represent the foundation for the Internet’s development. The reason for making this connection is because they provide the way to get the global cyber threat under control. Not just to keep ourselves and our vital systems and services protected, but to reverse the erosion of trust in the Internet. —CircleID

Over the weekend a cyber attack known as “WannaCry” infected hundreds of computers all over the world with ransomware (malware which encrypts your data until you pay a ransom, usually in Bitcoin). The attack takes advantage of an exploit for Windows known as “EternalBlue” which was in the possession of NSA and, in mid April, was made public by a group known as “The Shadow Brokers.” Microsoft issued a patch for the vulnerability on March 14 for all supported versions of Windows (Vista and later). Unfortunately at the time the attack started many systems were still unpatched and legacy Windows systems such as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 were left without a patch for the vulnerability. Since the attack began Microsoft has issued a patch for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 as well. —EFF

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you know that there has been a notable increase in cyberattacks around the world. Hackers have been spreading a type of ransomware called “WannaCry” via emails that trick recipients to open attachments that make them vulnerable to the attack. Since Friday, over 150 countries have been affected by WannaCry, with the largest impact being on the NHS in England and Scotland. The attack hit over 16 organizations, crippling hospitals and general practices, forcing them to shut down and turn away patients. —CSA