Thursday, 23 November, 2017

The blame game, ransomware edition: Who's at fault?

Kayla Schwartz | 16 May, 2017, 09:13

Security experts tempered the alarm bells by saying that widespread attacks are tough to pull off.

The ransomware took advantage of a flaw in Microsoft's Windows operating system.

He said "the level of criminal activity is at the lower end of the range that we had anticipated".

Microsoft called in February for a "Digital Geneva Convention" laying down the rules for the protection of users from state cyber attacks, including a requirement for governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them.

This is already believed to be the biggest online extortion attack ever recorded, disrupting computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in nations as diverse as the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Spain and India. Jonathan Zittrain, a professor specializing in internet law at Harvard Law School, said courts have frequently dismissed lawsuits against the agency on the grounds they might result in the disclosure of top secret information.On top of that, the NSA would likely be able to claim that it is shielded from liability under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which says that the government cannot be sued over carrying out its official duties."I doubt there can be any liability that stems back to the NSA", Dore said.

The attack held hospitals and other entities hostage by freezing computers, encrypting their data and demanding money through online bitcoin payment - $300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.

Officials and experts on Sunday urged organizations and companies to update their operating systems immediately to ensure they aren't vulnerable to a second, more powerful version of the malicious software. Normally, such patches are reserved for organizations willing to pay for extended support.

Consumers and businesses who have updated to the most recent Microsoft Windows software are protected from WannaCry.

He said ransomware attacks are an everyday occurrence, and that victims tend to be small businesses that don't have as much money to invest in cybersecurity.

Cyberattack strikes 100K groups in at least 150 countries
NHS Digital said it is continuing to work to fight against the WannaCry cyberattack and its impact on the health service. Teams have been working at the unnamed North-east surgeries over the weekend to get systems back up and running.

Smith's blog post did not address another factor in the ransomware's spread, one that hints at the difficulty of uniting against a hacking attack: Users of pirated Microsoft software are unable to download the security patch, forcing them to fend for themselves or rely on a third-party source for a solution.

"It seems that a lot of internet security guys over the weekend did their homework and ran the security software updates", Jan Op Gen Oorth said.

Ryan Kalember, senior vice president at Proofpoint Inc., which helped stop its spread, said the version without a kill switch could spread.

Darien Huss, a 28-year-old research engineer who helped MalwareTech, agreed the threat was far from over. That affordable move redirected the attacks to MalwareTech's server, which operates as a "sinkhole" to keep malware from escaping.

Luckily for the world, the ransomware had a kill switch disguised as a domain name.

The Windows vulnerability in question was purportedly identified by the NSA for its own intelligence-gathering purposes. Companies like Hitachi and Nissan Motor Co reported problems they said had not seriously affected their business operations.

As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought the ransomware hackers, Chinese state media said 29,372 institutions there had been infected, along with hundreds of thousands of devices. They require very little technical knowledge to run, but mean nearly anybody could carry out an attack. "But there's clearly some culpability on the part of the US intelligence services". "So they no longer get the security updates they should be".

Meanwhile, Eiram is convinced there will be many vulnerabilities in the future that will enable similar ransomware attacks.

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