Windows XP Computers Were Mostly Immune To WannaCry

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Windows XP isn’t as vulnerable to the WannaCry ransomware as many assumed, according to a new report from Kryptos research. The company’s researchers found that XP computers hit with the most common WannaCry attack tended to simply crash without successfully installing or spreading the ransomware. If true, the result would undercut much of the early reporting on Windows XP’s role in spreading the globe-spanning ransomware. The core of WannaCry is a vulnerability in a Windows file-sharing system called SMB, which allowed WannaCry to spread quickly across vulnerable systems with no user interaction. But when Kryptos researchers targeted an XP computer with the malware in a lab setting, they found that the computers either failed to install or exhibited a “blue screen of death,” requiring a hard reset. It’s still possible to manually install WannaCry on XP machines, but the program’s particular method of breaking through security simply isn’t effective against the older operating system. The worst-case scenario, and likely scenario,” the Kryptos report reads, “is that WannaCry caused many unexplained blue-screen-of-death crashes.” While they cut against much of the early analysis of WannaCry, Kryptos’ findings are consistent with early research from Kaspersky Lab, which found that Windows XP accounted for an “insignificant” percentage of the total infections. Kaspersky found the bulk of infections on machines running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008.


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