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American Security researcher creates ‘vaccine’ for Ransomware attack

An American security researcher has found a “vaccine” for the global cyberattack that has infected thousands of machines in dozens of countries. In total the incident affected 12,500 machines in 64 countries, according to Microsoft.

The simple antidote to the Petya ransomware, which stops computers from being able to launch and demands a $300 payment, uses an empty folder to block the virus, the Telegraph reported. Unlike the WannaCry kill switch, the Petya vaccine must be manually downloaded onto computers before it is affected.

Amit Serper, a security researcher from Boston who discovered the solution, warned that it is probably a “temporary fix”. When the Petya ransomware infects a machine it searches for a folder called “perfc.dll”. If it can’t find the folder it takes hold of the computer, locking files and part of the hard drive. In the event that it finds the file the ransomware is not able to work, the report said.

Thousands of computer users across the globe scrambled to reboot on Wednesday as calls grew to step up defences after fresh ransomware cyberattacks spread from Ukraine and Russia worldwide, including India.

The virus, which demanded a payment worth $300 as it locked up files at companies and government agencies including the Chernobyl nuclear site, was reminiscent of the WannaCry ransomware that swept the world last month, hitting more than 2,00,000 users in more than 150 countries.

But the new attack appeared much smaller in scale, with global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab estimating the number of victims at 2,000. There was no immediate indication of who was responsible.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said the situation “underlines the importance of strengthening our cyber defences” as he warned hacking attacks could potentially trigger the US-led bloc’s mutual defence commitment.



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