Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Major cyber attack could come on Monday, experts warn

Kayla Schwartz | 14 May, 2017, 22:42

Around 75,000 computers in 99 countries were affected by malware known as WannaCry, which encrypts a computer and demands a $300 ransom before unlocking it.

Lawrence Abrams of BleepingComputer.com in NY says many organizations don't install security upgrades because they're anxious about triggering bugs, or they can't afford the downtime.

But he says the same thing could be done to crucial infrastructure, like nuclear power plants, dams or railway systems. The national railway said it was attacked but operations were unaffected.

The management of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) would like to bring to the attention of Nigerians on the recent cyber-attack that is affecting computers across the world - the ransomeware attack. This is not the serious stuff yet.

Although the spread of the malware - known as WannaCry and variants of that name - appears to have slowed, the threat is not yet over.

"We are spending around 50 million pounds on the NHS cyber systems to improve their security, we've encouraged the NHS trusts to reduce their exposure to the weakest system, the Windows XP. and there is money available to strengthen these systems", he said. "We have stopped this one, but there will be another one coming and it will not be stoppable by us". Microsoft says now it will make the fixes free for everyone.

The ransomware virus swept computers running on Microsoft Windows Operating System, especially those not now supported such as Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003, across the globe. The exploit was leaked last month as part of a trove of US National Security Agency spy tools.

For all other versions - Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 - Microsoft asks them to apply the MS17-010 update if they haven't enabled autoupdates on their systems. Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack in over 70 countries, although both said the attack had hit Russian Federation the hardest.

Speaking to ITV's Peston on Sunday, Europol director Rob Wainwright said the attack was indiscriminate across the private and public sectors.

First Australian business infected in global cyber attack
Investigators are working to track down those responsible for the ransomware used on Friday, known as Wanna Decryptor or WannaCry. Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, spoke Saturday after the emergency COBRA meeting to discuss the cyberattack.

Microsoft admitted the move was "highly unusual" because the three operating systems are no longer officially supported.

In the United States, package delivery group FedEx said it was "implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible", while French carmaker Renault was forced to stop production at sites in France, Slovenia and Romania.

Who else has been affected by the attack?

Indeed, while FedEx Corp. reported that its Windows computers were "experiencing interference" from malware - it wouldn't say if it had been hit by the ransomware - other impacts in the US were not readily apparent on Saturday.

Europol said a special task force at its European Cybercrime Centre was "specially created to assist in such investigations and will play an important role in supporting the investigation".

The extortion attack, which locked up computers and held users' files for ransom, is believed to be the biggest of its kind ever recorded, disrupting services in nations as diverse as the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, Spain and India. Deutsche Bahn said it deployed extra staff to busy stations to help customers, and recommended that they check its website or app for information on their connections.

Security experts said the spread of the ransomware had been inadvertently stopped late Friday.

The U.K.'s National Cyber Security Center was "working round the clock" to restore vital health services, while urging people to update security software fixes, run anti-virus software and back up their data elsewhere.

Nissan UK confirmed it was affected, but said there had been "no major impact".

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