Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Next cyber attack could be imminent, warn experts

Laurie Berry | 14 May, 2017, 17:13

The National Cyber Security Centre, part of the GCHQ electronic intelligence agency, said it was working with police and the health system to investigate the attack.

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".

Experts were scrambling to determine who was behind the attack, which exploited a security flaw in older versions of Microsoft's Windows operating software.

Images appeared on victims' screens demanding payment of $300 (275 euros) in Bitcoin, saying: "Ooops, your files have been encrypted!"

The ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

The attack was apparently halted in the afternoon in the United Kingdom when a researcher took control of an Internet domain that acted as a kill switch for the worm's propagation, according to Ars Technica.

"The fact 97% of the NHS trusts and hospitals and doctors are working as normal, so the response has in fact been very good and that's due to the good work of the staff and the resilience that was already put in place".

Some experts say the attackers used a weakness in Microsoft systems which is known to the US National Security Agency as "EternalBlue". "A number of countries and organizations have been affected". A Microsoft spokeswoman said that the company was aware of the reports and was looking into the situation. Microsoft swiftly released software "patches" to fix those holes, but many users still haven't installed updates or still use older versions of Windows.

Among the other victims is a Nissan manufacturing plant in Sunderland, northeast England, though a spokesman said "there has been no major impact on our business".

Renault said it had halted auto production at several sites including Sandouville in northwestern France and Renault-owned Dacia plants in Romania on Saturday to prevent the spread of ransomware in its systems.

Russia's interior ministry said some of its computers had been hit by a "virus attack" and that efforts were underway to destroy it.

Lakeridge Health in Durham Region also reported having intermittent problems with its IT system on Friday.

Belgium's Blanche fourth in first Eurovision semifinal
The post Portuguese crooner wins Eurovision as conflict mars Kiev's party appeared first on The Independent Uganda:. ISAIAH Firebrace has missed out on the Eurovision crown despite a note flawless performance.

Germany's national railway said Saturday departure and arrival display screens at its train stations were affected, but there was no impact on actual train services. But U.K. hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms like Fedex also reported they had come under assault.

HOSPITAL chiefs failed to adequately invest in computer security despite a wave of attempted cyber attacks on Scottish health boards, an expert warned last night.

Computers in A&E wards, GP surgeries and other vital services were thought to have been infected with the virus.

In a statement, computer security group Kaspersky Labs said it was "trying to determine whether it is possible to decrypt data locked in the attack - with the aim of developing a decryption tool as soon as possible".

Had it not been for a young cybersecurity researcher's accidental discovery of a so-called "kill switch", the malicious software likely would have spread much farther and faster.

"I highly suspect that, with the amount of coverage that this incident is getting, there are probably already people that are working to incorporate the exploit that was used for spreading", he said.

Avast said the majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan - though exactly which computers in those areas were targeted remains fuzzy.

Finance chiefs from the Group of Seven rich countries were to commit on Saturday to joining forces to fight the growing threat of worldwide cyberattacks, according to a draft statement of a meeting they are holding in Italy.

G7 finance ministers in their meeting today turned their focus to combating cybercrime, in what Italy's Pier Carlo Padoan described as an "unfortunately very timely" discussion.

It's thought a virus - based on hacking tools developed by USA intelligence agencies - has infected the NHS systems.

While any sized company could be vulnerable, many large organizations with robust security departments would have prioritized the update that Microsoft released in March and wouldn't be vulnerable to Friday's attack.

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