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Security researchers have a fix for victims of the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware

Published May 19th, 2017 6:46PM EDT
WannaCry Ransomware
Image: Gillian Hann via Twitter

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French security researchers have come up with a solution that may help users impacted by the WannaCry ransomware recover their encrypted files without having to fork over $300 worth of Bitcoin to hackers. According to a report from Reuters, a researcher named Adrien Guinet came up with a way to decrypt encrypted files due to a subtle flaw in the WannaCry code.

While the initial version of Guinet’s software solution only helped out Windows XP users, this wasn’t a huge help in and of itself given that most users affected by WannaCry were Windows 7 users.

In fact, the security firm Kaspersky Lab earlier today relayed that approximately 98% of all machines hit by WannaCry were running an iteration of Windows 7, with barely any running Windows XP. Incidentally, most of the infections occurred in China and Russia, with the United States reportedly only seeing about 7% of worldwide infections.

That said, Guinet and his colleagues recently managed to tweak its software fix to work on Windows 7 machines as well.

Wanakiwi was quickly tested and shown to work on Windows 7 and older Windows versions XP and 2003, Suiche said, adding that he believed the hastily developed fix also works with Windows 2008 and Vista, meaning the entire universe of affected PCs.

“(The method) should work with any operating system from XP to Win7,” Suiche told Reuters, via direct message on Twitter.

For anyone with a machine compromised by WannaCry, Guinet stresses that users should not reboot their machine. Otherwise, the fix might not work. The software fix is dubbed ‘wannakiwi’ and can be downloaded over here. Technical details surrounding the fix, which involves the lovely world of prime numbers, can be found over here for those interested.

To date, more than 300,000 computers in approximately 150 countries were infected with WannaCry. In spite of how quickly the malware spread, it’s believed that the hackers behind WannaCry only managed to rake in around $90,000.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.