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China warns of new ransomware virus

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Chinese authorities have warned computer users of a new ransomware virus detected abroad, reported Xinhua News Agency (China).
The National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center (CVERC) and software company AsiaInfo Wednesday detected the "UIWIX" virus, which is spreading in a similar the way to the "WannaCry" ransomware.

"The new virus uses a bug in the Windows operating system, and infects computers by renaming files after encryption," said Chen Jianmin, standing deputy head of the CVERC. "The renamed files usually carry the extension '.UIWIX'."

No infections have been confirmed in China so far, and the CVERC is undertaking technical analysis on the virus, while keeping an eye on possible infections.
Microsoft has issued a security update to address the vulnerability, Chen said.

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Hackers offering free anti-virus software to battle against the WannaCry infection say they have had thousands of downloads since releasing their work online, reported Sky News (UK).

One hacker who goes under the twitter name @HIBC2017 says he spent 36 hours designing an anti-virus programme that directly protects computers from the ransomware which has infected an estimated 200,000 systems worldwide since Friday.

"The problem with anti-virus software is that it can take you a while to get set up whereas, with the code I've designed, it can protect instantly," he told Sky News.

"I've put it online for free and made it so you just click on a few buttons."
"I've had more than 5,000 downloads so far which is brilliant but I'm just happy that I'm making people's lives easier."

Other so-called "white hat hackers" have also designed and released free anti-virus software to the masses to fight against the "black hat hackers".
The author of "Tearstopper" says their software has helped around 2,000 people protect themselves.

Microsoft also released a patch to help secure computers from the vulnerability that the WannaCry ransomware is taking advantage of, but thousands of users are clearly making use of the work of more amateur hackers, who often work in bedrooms just for fun and curiosity.

The coordinated attack on Friday hit the NHS and dozens of countries worldwide. It is believed to be the biggest attack of its kind.

Evidence suggests a group linked to North Korea was behind the hack, according to security experts.

It is widely known that 22-year-old UK security researcher, Marcus Hutchins, discovered a hidden "kill switch" which managed to slow the spread of the attack after discovering a weakness.

Other hackers have offered advice and collaborated on work to understand the virus.
Many hackers are apparently angry with this attack as it crossed a line by harming the work of doctors in the NHS.

Some hackers say they are now determined to help the authorities track down the culprits. "There's a lot of talent out there doing this around the clock," @HIBC2017 said.
"It's just a matter of time until they're caught and many people will be helping in any way they can."

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