Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Ransomware cyberattack a wake-up call

Frank Williams | 19 May, 2017, 17:35

Researchers estimate some 300,000 systems were hit.

Brad says that the attack demonstrates the degree to which cyber security has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers. "The more pessimistic side of me is saying companies are paying the ransom and not reporting it".

They proposed a plan to improve cyber security that included a replacement of outdated systems "as a matter of urgency", calling its continued use "one of the most pressing issues facing IT infrastructure" in the NHS.

Most victims were quickly able to recover infected systems with backups, said the group's chief economist, Scott Borg. He noted, however, the complexity that can be involved in patching a security hole. They also recommend to do a back-up offline (an "out-of-hand back-up"), and to install the Windows update Windows MS17-010. Although Microsoft was quick to patch the "extremely critical" flaw in Windows as early as in March, the extent to which the attack crippled the world overnight is a clear sign, "organizations aren't particularly fond of updating their system software". "Software updates and security patches are pushed to us as needed so that we are using the most current approved versions of software on our computers".

And he defended the Government after a National Audit Office report in November warned that taking money away from NHS services would leave them vulnerable, telling BBC Breakfast it was down to individual trusts to protect against vulnerabilities and insisting they had enough money to protect against cyber attacks.

To that end note that on Friday WikiLeaks published the eighth in its "Vault 7" series of tools it has gotten hold that that allegedly were manufactured by the Central Intelligence Agency to exploit holes in Windows.

The investigations into the attack were in the early stages, however, and attribution for cyber attacks is notoriously hard.

While the attack that started on Friday has been halted, it most likely won't be the last one. Banks have passed on the directive to their management service providers. It will then periodically beacon to its configured listening post (s) to request tasking and deliver results.

Syrian refugees in Jordan's desert get solar power
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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had said yesterday that a few systems of the Police Department in Andhra Pradesh were impacted and that the state government has been informed to follow the advisory by the CERT-In.

The National Security Agency (NSA) alerted Microsoft about the issue three months ago and Microsoft released an upgrade that patched the flaw, but many users were yet to run it, CNN reported.

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

Smith is urging world leaders need to consider following the "same rules applied to weapons in the physical world" for Internet vulnerabilities.

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world", wrote Smith. "And it's why we've pledged our support for defending every customer everywhere in the face of cyberattacks, regardless of their nationality". According to a study by IBM ransomware attacks increased by 6,000 per cent in 2016 and at least 40 per cent of spam emails now carry ransomware.

If you suspect your computer is infected with the malware, don't open any files and immediately disconnect your computer from the network, as well as from any external storage, HKCERT advises. There's Microsoft, whose ubiquitous Windows operating systems were compromised after attackers exploited a security hole.

However, he noted copycats are active. Researchers say new variants of the software have a similar kill switch, but they refer to different domains.

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