Thursday, 21 September, 2017

WannaCry 2.0 ransomware just arrives with no kill switch

Francis Olson | 14 May, 2017, 23:29

Britain's health system has recovered from the disruption caused by a global cyber attack, with 97 per cent of the country's health service trusts now "working as normal", interior minister Amber Rudd says.

The attack held hospitals and other entities hostage by freezing computers, encrypting data and demanding money through online bitcoin payments.

In the United Kingdom, non-emergency patients are being turned away at hospitals until computer systems are restored.

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".

European countries, including Russian Federation, were among the worst hit.

China's network information safety working group sent a warning to universities about the cyber-attack and the National Internet Emergency Center suggested that users update Windows security patches.

In the U.S., FedEx Corp. reported that its Windows computers were "experiencing interference" from malware, but wouldn't say if it had been hit by ransomware.

Wallpaper - Additionally, the victim's wallpaper is changed to the following image, which repeats instructions on how to pay the ransom.

However, there have been some reports of ambulances being diverted from affected hospitals and individual NHS trusts have asked registered patients not to attend unless it is urgent.

NHS Digital, which manages the health service cyber security, said fewer than 5% of devices within the health service still use the old system Windows XP.

Hospitals in Britain also suffered from a similar attack on Friday.

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Over the weekend both East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust have cancelled operations and procedures. But it appears to be "low-level" stuff, given the amounts of ransom demanded, Eisen said Saturday.

With ransomware attacks on the rise and now crescendoing with this most recent attack, we can only hope that IT departments will soon get the resources they need to keep their systems and networks secure from future attacks.

The UK government was repeatedly warned about the risks of attack, but failed to heed the advice.

Fortunately, it didn't turn out to be necessary because just by registering the domain MalwareTech he had engaged what was possibly an obscure but intentional kill switch for the ransomeware.

Within hours, over 75,000 attacks were detected worldwide, the company said. "The fact is the NHS has fallen victim to this", she said.

Alan Woodward, visiting professor of computing at the University of Surrey, said there was evidence the ransomware was spreading using a Microsoft flaw exposed in a recent leak of information from US intelligence agencies.

"We have stopped this one, but there will be another one coming and it will not be stoppable by us", the 22-year-old told the BBC on Sunday.

Dr Krishna Chinthapalli, a neurology registrar at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, had warned that an increasing number of hospitals could be shut down by ransomware attacks in an article on the vulnerability of the NHS network in the "British Medical Journal" on Wednesday, two days before the major cyber-hack.

He said the general threat of cyber attacks is an ongoing issue for Government.

Wainwright said: "We're in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up, I'm anxious about how numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn their machines on on Monday morning".

Spain, meanwhile, activated a special protocol to protect critical infrastructure in response to the "massive infection" of personal and corporate computers in ransomware attacks.

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