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WannaCry ransomware is still alive, and it just forced Honda to close one of its plants

WannaCry Ransomware

Just over a month ago, a nasty piece of ransomware called "WannaCry" began infecting PCs all across the world at an alarming rate. Based off of a leaked NSA exploit, the malware worked by encrypting all of a user's files and offering up a decryption key only upon receipt of a $300 payment via Bitcoin. In the span of just a few days, WannaCry managed to infect nearly 300,000 machines, a tally which could have been much higher had it not been for a researcher who inadvertently activated WannaCry's kill-switch.

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Honda shuts down factory after finding NSA-derived Wcry in its networks

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The WCry ransomware worm has struck again, this time prompting Honda Company to halt production in one of its Japan-based factories after finding infections in a broad swath of its computer networks, according to media reports.

The automaker shut down its Sayama plant northwest of Tokyo on Monday after finding that WCry had affected networks across Japan, North America, Europe, China, and other regions, Reuters reported Wednesday. Discovery of the infection came on Sunday, more than five weeks after the onset of the NSA-derived ransomware worm, which struck an estimated 727,000 computers in 90 countries. The mass outbreak was quickly contained through a major stroke of good luck. A security researcher largely acting out of curiosity registered a mysterious domain name contained in the WCry code that acted as a global kill switch that immediately halted the self-replicating attack.

Honda officials didn't explain why engineers found WCry in their networks 37 days after the kill switch was activated. One possibility is that engineers had mistakenly blocked access to the kill-switch domain. That would have caused the WCry exploit to proceed as normal, as it did in the 12 or so hours before the domain was registered. Another possibility is that the WCry traces in Honda's networks were old and dormant, and the shutdown of the Sayama plant was only a precautionary measure. In any event, the discovery strongly suggests that as of Monday, computers inside the Honda network had yet to install a highly critical patch that Microsoft released in March.

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North Korea behind WannaCry ransomware attack, British intelligence claims

North Korea WannaCry investigation

A report from ZDNet cites sources inside the British National Cyber Security Centre, who claim that North Korea was behind the recent WannaCry ransomware attack that hit millions of users worldwide.

The ransomware software spread like wildfire between infected Windows machines, and hit the UK particularly hard. A number of hospitals and regional health services were taken offline by the attack, and some officials have suggested that the attack was directly responsible for a number of deaths as a result.

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Analysis of WannaCry ransom message raises links to China

WannaCry Ransomware

When the WannaCry ransomware took hold earlier this month, it quickly began infecting thousands of machines in a number of countries all across the world. In the process, it even managed to infect computers at the National Health Service in the UK, effectively disabling IT systems at a number of hospitals.

All told, it's believed that WannaCry managed to infect upwards of 300,000 machines, a figure that could have been much higher had it not been for a security researcher who accidentally stumbled upon the malware's kill-switch. Incidentally, security researchers, the days following the attack, even managed to come up with a solution for some impacted users, effectively allowing them to reclaim their encrypted files without forking over $300 worth of Bitcoin to an unknown group of hackers.

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WannaCry could just be the beginning of quick-spreading hack attacks

New WannaCry-like Computer Virus

The WannaCry ransomware attack took the world by surprise a few weeks ago, spreading to more than 300,000 computer systems around the world in a matter of hours. The virus, believed to have been created by hackers with ties with North Korea, used a Windows vulnerability that was first devised by the NSA and made public after the agency suffered a digital breach. The US government cautions that a similar attack might be just around the corner, thanks to a different vulnerability.

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