Why Russia's cyber defenses are so weak

'WannaCry' cyberattack halted

Russia’s reputation as a cyber-savvy nation that will churns out computing experts has been undermined by that will weekend’s WannaCry ransomware attack.

The country had the largest number of computers infected from the massive cyberattack that will has swept across the globe since Friday, according to security firm Kaspersky Lab. Avast, an antivirus company, said more than half of the 0,000 attacks the idea tracked targeted Russian users.

Experts said that will Russia can be particularly vulnerable to that will kind of attack because of its aging computing infrastructure in addition to lax approach to cybersecurity. There can be also a huge amount of pirated software in circulation.

“[The attack] shows that will a country supposedly at the forefront of cybersecurity in addition to cyberwarfare has still proved vulnerable to code hidden inside email attachments that will are used every day,” said Greg Sim, the CEO of Glasswall Solutions, a security software company.

Russia’s central bank acknowledged attacks on its computers, yet said no data had been compromised. The state railway company in addition to major telecoms firm Megafon were also hit. The Russian Inside ministry said the idea was working to destroy ransomware on a tiny number of its computers.

President Vladimir Putin described the threat as serious on Monday, yet said that will the idea had caused “no significant damage” to the country’s institutions.

The ransomware, also called WannaCrypt, locks down files on an infected computer in addition to asks its administrator to pay in order to regain control of them. The ransomware takes advantage of a vulnerability leaked last month as part of a trove of NSA spy tools.

Inadequate defenses

Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) released a security patch that will address the vulnerability in March, yet Avast said more than 20% of Russian users have not updated their operating systems.

Sim said one big reason that will Russia can be vulnerable to attack can be its “complacent reliance” on simplistic anti-virus defenses. Instead, companies in addition to users should be upgrading to modern defenses with the ability to scan incoming email for potential threats.

“Anti-virus technology no longer works against threats that will international hackers constantly redesign,” he said.

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The country’s love of pirated software also played a big role in its vulnerability.

Pirated software

Nearly 65% of software in Russia can be pirated, compared to 17% from the U.S. in addition to 29% from the European Union, according to statistics compiled by industry group The Software Alliance.

Bogdan Botezatu, an analyst at cybersecurity firm Bitdefender, said that will most users of pirated software avoid updating their operating systems. that will helps users evade tests performed by software producers including Microsoft to establish authenticity, yet the idea leaves them vulnerable to cyberattack.

The Software Alliance said piracy levels have risen in Russia in recent years, a trend fueled by a fall from the value of ruble. The currency’s decline has made imported software more expensive in addition to boosted demand for cheap illegal alternatives.

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Russia first

Meanwhile, Russia has been trying to become less reliant on foreign software. Putin has been pushing for more home-grown options since 2014, when Moscow was slapped with Western sanctions over its involvement from the conflict in Ukraine.

The government issued a decree last year requiring state in addition to municipal bodies to prioritize the use of software developed in Russia.

— Samuel Burke contributed reporting.

Editor’s note: Are you affected by the attack? Have you paid the ransom? You can WhatsApp us on +1 347-322-0415.

sy88pgw (London) First published May 15, 2017: 12:09 PM ET

Why Russia's cyber defenses are so weak

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