Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Cyber attack hit 200000 victims across 150 countries, says Europol chief

Kayla Schwartz | 15 May, 2017, 02:11

An worldwide effort is under way to track down the criminals behind an unprecedented global cyber attack that wreaked havoc across the NHS. Both said Russian Federation was hit hardest.

On Saturday, experts said it appeared that the ransomware had made just over $20,000, although they expected that number to pop when people went back into the office Monday.

The worldwide effort to extort cash from computer users is the first widely successful example of ransomware that self-replicates like a virus, and it prompted Microsoft to quickly change its policy, announcing free security patches to fix this vulnerability in the older Windows systems still used by millions of individuals and smaller businesses.

"The software has actually stopped spreading across the world", he told CNN.

"Affected machines have six hours to pay up and every few hours the ransom goes up", said Kurt Baumgartner, the principal security researcher at security firm Kaspersky Lab.

The researcher, who is identified only as MalwareTech, is a 22-year-old from south-west England who works for Kryptos logic, a Los-Angeles-based threat intelligence company, the Guardian reported on Saturday (May 13).

"I had a bit of a look into that and then I found a sample of the malware behind it, and saw that it was connecting out to a specific domain, which was not registered".

He added: "The Government have been rather complacent, when they were warned about a cyber security attack on the NHS".

On Sunday he warned hackers could upgrade the virus to remove the "kill switch" that helped to stop it. "They are processing a lot of sensitive data".

Michael Gazeley, managing director of cybersecurity firm Network Box, told CNN that the danger is far from over and that a company's security patch on Saturday might not still work by Monday.

Sergio Garcia soars at windy Sawgrass
Holmes (70) and Kyle Stanley (72) at nine under, with former British Open victor Louis Oosthuizen a stroke behind in third. Defending champion Jason Day didn't make up any ground, either, trading birdies and bogeys for a 72.

Oliver Gower, of the UK's National Crime Agency, said: "Cyber criminals may believe they are anonymous but we will use all the tools at our disposal to bring them to justice".

Cybersecurity firm Avast said it had identified more than 75,000 ransomware attacks in 99 countries on Friday, making it one of the broadest and most damaging cyberattacks in history.

European police agency Europol said it was working to support countries, saying the malware attack was at an "unprecedented level and requires worldwide investigation".

This one worked because of a "perfect storm" of conditions, including a known and highly unsafe security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and malware created to spread quickly once inside university, business and government networks.

Marin Ivezic, cybersecurity partner at PwC, said that some clients had been "working around the clock since the story broke" to restore systems and install software updates, or patches, or restore systems from backups.

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

The cyberattack affected 16 organizations that are part of the National Health Service on Friday, causing some surgical procedures to be canceled and ambulances diverted.

Security experts said his move bought precious time for organizations seeking to block the attacks.

A senior nurse with NHS Lanarkshire in Scotland posted a video on Twitter appealing to members of the public "to stay away from acute hospitals unless it's an absolute emergency situation" while its IT systems remain affected.

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