Frenchman claims cure for WannaCry-infected computers

As deadline looms experts find way to unlock ransomware files

Image: A screenshot shows a WannaCry ransomware demand, provided by cyber security firm Symantec, in Mountain View, California, U.S. May 15, 2017.

(Restarting the computer could erase these prime numbers.) This ingenious little tool is based on Adrien Guinet's wannakey, which was created to recover Windows XP keys.

The "Wanakiwi", as the team calls the new tool, works only on computers that have not been restarted since showing the ransom image, and only for files that have not been locked permanently by WannaCry after a week.

Suiche has published a blog with technical details summarizing what the group of passing online acquaintances (https://goo.gl/iIFDZs) has developed.

The Wanakiwi tool has been tested to work with Windows XP and Windows 7, which means it should also work with the intervening versions of Windows, Suiche said.

Sure, a handful of companies that didn't patch their Windows systems got hit hard, but organizations that were broadly impacted were, in many cases, using outdated, unsupported computers that were not patched.

As the WannaCry ransomware continues to spread - albeit more slowly now - across the internet, security researchers are discovering more about the malware's impact.

Suiche, based in the United Arab Emirates and one of the world's top security researchers, provided advice and testing to ensure the fix worked across all various versions of Windows. He said the software helps recover the prime numbers of the RSA private key that are used by WannaCry.

"This is not a ideal solution", Suiche said. "But this is so far the only workable solution to help enterprises to recover their files if they have been infected and have no back-ups".

The report said that in China, more than 29,000 IPs were infected by the virus from Friday to Saturday, most of which were universities, hospitals, transport systems and companies. Windows XP, meanwhile, only accounted for about one in a thousand infections. The deadline for payment was seven days, and those seven days end Friday, May 19. "Paying a ransom does not guarantee the victim will regain access to their data".

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