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French researchers claim cure for WannaCry-infected computers

22 May, 2017, 08:31 | Author: Lloyd Doyle

WannaCry effectively holds the user's computer hostage, and demands the equivalent of about $300 United States worth of bitcoin to release the computer owner's data.

A loose-knit team of security researchers scattered across the globe said they had collaborated to develop a workaround to unlock the encryption key for files hit in the global attack, which several independent security researchers have confirmed.

The researchers said, however, that the tools are not flawless and work only if the computers infected with the WannaCry ransomware have not been rebooted after being hit.

One week ago, a malware attack known as WannaCry was launched and reportedly affected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide.

Now the solution has been further developed by Matt Suiche and now works with Windows 7 (97% of the infected PCs), Windows 2003 (x86), Vista and 2008 and 2008 R2. For instance, if one of those few XP machines is operating a vital service on Britain's NHS system, that arguably has far greater implications than 100 Windows 7 users losing family photos.

The ransomware is very infectious, with more than 300,000 computers worldwide in 150 countries believed to have been hit - about half of which are in Russian Federation or China. While PCMag has not tested Wanakiwi because we don't have any computers infected with WannaCry, Europol announced in a tweet on Thursday that its cybercrime law enforcement division tested it and found that the tool could "recover data in some circumstances".

"This is not a flawless solution", internationally known hacker Matthieu Suiche said in a blog post after testing the fix on different versions of Windows. He links to a tool called Wannakey built by Guinet, the creator of the original concept. This RSA private key, once recovered, can be used to restore encrypted files on infected computers.

"This is not a flawless solution", Suiche said.

As of Wednesday, half of all internet addresses corrupted globally by WannaCry were located in China and Russian Federation, with 30 and 20 percent of infections, respectively, according to data supplied by threat intelligence firm Kryptos Logic.

Meanwhile, if your computer hasn't been compromised by WannaCry, you've got little reason to fear a future infection, assuming you download and install a patch that Microsoft released in March to address the vulnerability that the ransomware targets. The deadline for payment was seven days, and those seven days end Friday, May 19.


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