An online learning company is offering a free course to teach people about the WannaCry computer virus used in this month’s worldwide campaign that resulted in more than 200,000 ransomware attacks in 150 countries.

Cybercriminals conducting the ransomware attack leveraged an exploit of Windows – believed stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency – to lock computer files until owners paid $300 in bitcoin digital currency.

The hacker group is suspected of having collected tens of thousands of dollars in ransoms.

“What you need to know about the ‘WannaCry’ Virus, Trojan Horses and Ransomware;” was launched this week by Alison, a free online learning platform.

“This free online course teaches you how to avoid the virus, but more importantly explains the concepts behind these attacks,” states an abstract for the course. 

“It is believed by industry experts that these types of computer virus attacks are going to become more frequent,” the abstract continues. “Whether you are an individual learner, or an employer or manager with an organisation of team of staff to protect, this free course will be of help to you in spreading awareness on how to protect against this malicious threat.”

The vulnerability has been known since February, when Microsoft cancelled its monthly Patch Tuesday deployment to address the problem.

That fix was released in March but – as with all patches – a significant number of Windows systems had not yet been updated.

A Kaspersky Lab blog on Friday described the attack as follows:

“Earlier today, our products detected and successfully blocked a large number of ransomware attacks around the world,” the security firm said in its Securelist publication. “In these attacks, data is encrypted with the extension ‘.WCRY’ added to the filenames.”

“Our analysis indicates the attack, dubbed ‘WannaCry,’ is initiated through an SMBv2 remote code execution in Microsoft Windows,” the piece continues. “This exploit (codenamed “EternalBlue”) has been made available on the Internet through the Shadowbrokers dump on April 14th, 2017 and patched by Microsoft on March 14.”

The one- to two-hour Alison course aims to demystify the attack and help participants to harden their defenses.

“This free course will be of great interest to those who would like to gain a better understanding of the latest WannaCry ransomware attack, and to those wishing to protect against it as it outlines what steps to avoid the virus and steps that can be taken if your computer has become infected,” the abstract states.

Visit Alison to participate in the course.

 

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