Thursday, 23 November, 2017

'WannaCry' ransomware attack: What we know so far

Kayla Schwartz | 16 May, 2017, 11:38

NHS hospitals, which were forced to divert patients from the emergency room and cancel scheduled surgeries on Friday, were slowly recovering from the attack.

European Union law enforcement agency Europol called the scale of the global assault "unprecedented".

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 indiscriminate attack began Friday and struck banks, hospitals and government agencies, exploiting known vulnerabilities in older Microsoft computer operating systems. After three days, the demand is hiked to $600 and after seven days, files will supposedly be deleted.

Microsoft distributed a patch two months ago that could have forestalled much of the attack, but in many organizations it was likely lost among the blizzard of updates and patches that large corporations and governments strain to manage.

French police said there were "more than 75,000 victims" around the globe, but cautioned that the number could increase "significantly".

"We will see more victims here and that's very sad always", MacGibbon said.

That may be because schools tend to have old computers and be slow about updates of operating systems and security, said Fang Xingdong, founder of ChinaLabs, an internet strategy think tank. Noting that the malware had so far only attacked computers with Windows XP, he said a plot to eliminate the OS could not be ruled out.

Government agencies said they were unaffected. "Which we will", she said.

Ransomware attack again thrusts US spy agency into unwanted spotlight
Use of digital payment structures is being closely monitored and the system is striving to beat this malicious ransomware. The same problem exists with industrial equipment and devices that are part of the critical infrastructure.

In China, universities and other educational institutions were among the hardest hit, about 15 percent of the internet protocol addresses attacked, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Japanese companies including Hitachi and Nissan Motor. reported some problems but said there was no major impact on their business operations. Universities in Greece and Italy also were hit.

Kaspersky 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". Unfortunately, the patch won't help computers that are already infected.

"You are dealing with a criminal", he said.

A hacking group called Shadow Brokers released the malware in April claiming to have discovered the flaw from the NSA, Kaspersky said.

Experts say the attackers might get more than $1 billion from the scam, although as of Saturday, only $33,000 was deposited into several Bitcoin accounts associated with the ransomware.

G7 finance ministers meeting in Italy vowed to unite against cyber crime, as it represented a growing threat to their economies and should be tackled as a priority. It was clear (that) warnings were given to hospital trusts."She said the attack had not been focused on the NHS but was part of a wide worldwide issue, and said the government had invested 2 billion pounds in cyber security."We take cyber security seriously", said May, who was responsible for domestic security for six years as home secretary before becoming prime minister last year.A poll on Monday found three-quarters of Britons thought the NHS was in a bad condition and more than 50 percent blamed the Conservatives for its current woes.Government ministers were due to hold an emergency response meeting later on Monday to deal with the crisis".

Essentially, it's a specific type of cyber attack that demands ransom from its victims. Once the hackers were in, they could control everything stored on your computer.

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