WannaCry Ransomware: French Researchers Find Last-Ditch Cure to Unlock Files

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WannaCry Ransomware: French Researchers Find Last-Ditch Cure to Unlock Files

While WannaCry is still evolving, people so far have been largely unaware about its reach, except for knowing that it targets almost all Windows versions released before Windows 10.

The "ransomware", called WannaCry, has infected hundreds of thousands of computers since it appeared May 12.

While the focus so far has been mostly on computers running Windows XP, a set of newly released figures by Kaspersky Lab has revealed that nearly all WannaCry victims were, in fact, running Windows 7.

That's just under one in 1,000 of the estimated victims. It also accounts for almost half of all OS platforms running on computers worldwide.

Since Microsoft has already confirmed that more recent versions of Windows aren't vulnerable to WannaCry, it's quite obvious that most of the infections would affect Windows 7-powered computers. In spite of how quickly the malware spread, it's believed that the hackers behind WannaCry only managed to rake in around $90,000.

French researchers released WanaKiwi, a possible solution for WannaCry victims.

WannaCry, which started to sweep round the globe last Friday and has infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 nations, threatens to lock out victims who have not paid a sum of $300 to $600 within one week of infection. It is so unsafe that Microsoft released a public patch for Windows XP, after it dropped support three years ago.

Matt Suiche, cofounder of security firm Comae Technologies, has tested wanakiwi and reports that it works. Benjamin Delpy, an employee of the Banque de France, used Guinet's methods to create a free decryption tool he dubbed "wanakiwi".

The results yielded what look to be positive results, with the programs able to work on Windows XP to Windows 7.

French researcher Benajmin Delpy updated that key with WanaKiwi so it could work on Windows 7 devices, too.

Once you run the program, it automatically searches for prime numbers in your computer's memory - the building blocks behind encryption.

Explaining further in details on GitHub he adds, "The main issue is that the CryptDestroyKey and CryptReleaseContext does not erase the prime numbers from memory before freeing the associated memory".

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