Frenchman claims cure for WannaCry-infected computers

Frenchman claims cure for WannaCry-infected computers

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

With a major deadline nearing for victims of the WannaCry ransomware epidemic, French IT researchers say they may have found a cure - as long as the computer hasn't been rebooted.

WannaCry encrypts victims' computer files and displays a message demanding ransoms to be paid in the digital currency Bitcoin before people can get their files back.

The researchers said, however, that the tools are not ideal and work only if the computers infected with the WannaCry ransomware have not been rebooted after being hit. As a result, it allows a chance to retrieve the prime numbers and hence, generate the private key for decryption.

It has been one week since the WannaCry ransomware made its way into computers around the globe, but now that the dust has settled, researchers have had time to examine the true impacts.

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

Guinet also said the software may not work on machines running on Windows 10 as the prime numbers are deleted there.

Delpy added that so far, banking, energy and some government intelligence agencies from several European countries and India had contacted him regarding the fix.

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 links to a tool called Wannakey built by Guinet, the creator of the original concept. "This is not a flawless solution", Suiche noted, given the limited set of conditions that "Wanakiwi" need in order to work. Incidentally, most of the infections occurred in China and Russian Federation, with the United States reportedly only seeing about 7% of worldwide infections.

Windows XP PCs infected by WannaCrypt can be decrypted without paying ransom by using a new utility dubbed Wannakey.

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