Sunday, 23 September, 2018

USA should take some of blame for massive cyberattack, Chinese media says

Ben Pena | 17 May, 2017, 17:44

The malware has primarily targeted users of Windows XP, an aging operating system for which Microsoft largely ended support in 2014.

Brad Smith criticized US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency, for "stockpiling" software code that can be used by hackers.

The admission was leaped on by Putin.

Many banks in Europe said they had stepped up efforts to prevent attackers getting through.

"A genie let out of a bottle of this kind, especially created by secret services, can then cause damage to its authors and creators".

They exploited a ideal storm of factors - the Windows hole, the ability to get ransom paid in digital currency, poor security practices - but it's unclear if the payoff, at least so far, was worth the trouble. And while Microsoft said it had already released a security update to patch the vulnerability one month earlier, the sequence of events fed speculation that the NSA hadn't told the USA tech giant about the security risk until after it had been stolen.

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call".

"It is important to note that this is not a threat that simply scans internal ranges to identify where to spread, it is also capable of spreading based on vulnerabilities it finds in other externally facing hosts across the Internet", says Talos.

In a blog post, he said: "An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the United States military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

There had been concern that Monday's start of the working week would see an upsurge in attacks.

"At the moment, we're in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up", Europol director Rob Wainwright told ITV's Peston on Sunday program.

"Loads of people will use the original to generate variations ... to re-create the panic and try to get some money for themselves", he said.

HTC launches new flagship smartphone U11
It's not up and running from the get go, but HTC and Amazon will add features shortly after the phone hits the market. The battery is rated to deliver up to 24.5 hours of talk time and lasts up to 14 days in standby mode.

Also hit were Deutsche Bahn, the Russian Central Bank, Russian Railways, Russia's Interior Ministry, Megafon and Telefónica.

Private hospitals in the city are on high alert following the ransomware attack, although none of them have been affected.

Urging businesses and computer users to keep their systems current and updated, Smith says the WannaCry attack shows the importance of collective action to fight cybercrime.

Spanish banks La Caixa, Bankinter and Sabadell said they had all taken measures.

It halted the production lines of a European carmaker and delayed surgical operations in Britain's National Health Service.

The attack held users hostage by freezing their computers, popping up a red screen with the words, "Oops, your files have been encrypted!" and demanding money through online bitcoin payment - $300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.

However, the ransom ware warning said that the cost would double after three days, so the payments may increase.

Experts and governments alike warn against ceding to the demands and few victims so far had been paying up. He adds that governments should report vulnerabilities like the one at the center of the WannaCry attack.

Although the economic fallout is still unknown, the political fallout "will be significant" according to the Eurasia consultancy.

Diving headfirst into a thorny policy debate, Microsoft says governments are partly to blame for the "WannaCrypt" - or "WannaCry" - wordwide cyberattacks.

They proposed a plan to improve cyber security that included a replacement of outdated systems "as a matter of urgency", calling its continued use "one of the most pressing issues facing IT infrastructure" in the NHS.

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