Thursday, 14 December, 2017

London security researcher warns of another global cyber-attack on Monday

Kenny Thornton | 14 May, 2017, 22:38

"We need to get to the bottom of why the Government thought cyber attacks were not a risk, when a combination of warnings and plain common sense should have told ministers that there is a growing and unsafe threat to our cyber security", he said.

In Russia, government agencies insisted that all attacks had been resolved.

British cybersecurity expert Graham Cluley doesn't want to blame the NSA for the attack.

Ciaran Martin, who leads the UK's National Cyber Security Centre, said his team was doing everything in their power to get "vital services" back up and running.

The ransomware was created to repeatedly contact an unregistered domain listed in its code.

Darien Huss, a 28-year-old research engineer who helped stop the malware's spread, said he was "still anxious for what's to come in the next few days, because it really would not be so hard for the actors behind this to re-release their code without a kill switch or with a better kill switch".

On Sunday MalwareTech issued a warning that hackers could upgrade the virus to remove the kill switch. Short of paying, options for these individuals and companies are usually limited to recovering data files from a backup, if available, or living without them.

"A lot of people are going to go to work on Monday and click on a link in their mail - completely oblivious that all of this is going on or have heard about it and think that it's over - and suddenly wipe out their whole company", Gazeley said from Hong Kong.

Hospitals across the country have been hit by a "ransomware" attack that froze computers, shutting wards, closing emergency rooms and bringing treatment to a halt.

Earlier on Friday, Spain's government warned that a large number of companies had been attacked by cyber criminals who infected computers with ransomware that locks up computers and demands ransoms to restore access.

"The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits", said Europol, Europe's police agency.

The virus exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software, first identified by the US National Security Agency, experts have said.

Companies rushed to protect Windows systems with patches that Microsoft released last month and Friday.

Victims were asked for payment of $300 in Bitcoin. Fortune reported Thursday that the price of bitcoin was at an all-time high.

Cyber threat could hit more people today
That affordable move redirected the attacks to MalwareTech's server, which operates as a "sinkhole" to keep malware from escaping. But Europol Director Rob Wainwright said he feared the attack was not over and that the number of attacks would continue to grow.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cybersecurity company F-Secure, called the attack "the biggest ransomware outbreak in history".

In England, 48 National Health Service (NHS) trusts fell victim, as did 13 NHS bodies in Scotland.

Since there no evidence that the patient data has been compromised by the attack, the organisation did not elaborate on the details.

The NHS has not been affected in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Grant Gowers, 50, from Clacton-on-Sea in southern England, told CNN how the ransomware attack had directly affected him.

Ministry of Health officials have been briefed by police about the ransomware attacks. "If I know I have cancer, I could deal with it".

Speaking after a Cobra meeting on Saturday, Rudd admitted "there's always more" that can be done to protect against viruses.

According to a report by The Times of India, about 70% of the ATMs in India are vulnerable to such global cyberattacks and one of the primary reasons behind is the use of Windows XP version which crippled information systems across the globe. Here's how to turn automatic updates on.

"We encourage all Americans to update your operating systems and implement vigorous cybersecurity practices at home, work, and school", the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a statement released late Friday.

Who was behind the attack? But the researcher's actions may have saved companies and governments millions of dollars and slowed the outbreak before computers in the USA were more widely affected. "Most organizations just keep their heads in the sand", he said.

Lanarkshire NHS was the worst hit board.

Nonetheless, authorities around the world will be seeking to track down those responsible.

"I don't think it's to do with that preparedness".

In light of Friday's attacks, Microsoft announced that it's making the fixes free to all.

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