Cyberattack is ‘wake-up call’ for governments

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Wainwright said that businesses should ensure that their systems are updated with the latest security patches to help prevent further infections and to slow the spread of the ransomware.

Mr MacGibbon declined to comment on the identity or type of the business impacted by the unprecedented cyber attack but said it was a small company, which did not provide critical infrastructure.

The head of the European Union police agency said on Sunday the cyber assault hit 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries and that number will grow when people return to work on Monday.

Fortunately the situation was not as bad as previously thought, probably because networking experts at companies and government agencies around the world updated their softwares over the weekend to block the infiltration of the virus. Early investigative reports have suggested that this particular malware was among the tools held by the National Security Agency (NSA) employed to exploit system vulnerabilities in Windows which were leaked by WikiLeaks, for which Microsoft had released a patch for over two months ago. While Microsoft had previously released patches for the NSA exploits that WanaCrypt targets, it’s taken the rare step of releasing patches for operating systems not now in mainstream or extended support.

It’s hard to blame Microsoft, Litan said, since it issued fixes and generally did what it should.

“But our immediate priority as a government is to disrupt the attack, restore affected services as soon as possible, and establish who was behind it so we can bring them to justice”.

Friday’s attack largely hit businesses and large organizations: United Kingdom hospitals, a Spanish telecom, FedEx, the Russian Interior Ministry, and more.

Some hospitals were forced to cancel procedures and appointments, as ambulances were directed to neighbouring hospitals free from the computer virus.

Dame Fiona and the Care Quality Commission wrote to Mr Hunt to highlight a “lack of understanding of security issues”, the newspaper said, and that “the external cyber threat is becoming a bigger consideration”. An estimated US$30,000 in ransom has been paid by victims. The BBC quoted one NHS staffer who said it was “absolute carnage” and that “patients will nearly certainly suffer and die because of this”.

What we now need to understand is what those NHS organisations which were affected by the ransomware have in common, and how they differ from those which escaped unscathed.

A spokesman for the Russian Health Ministry, Nikita Odintsov, said on Twitter that the cyberattacks on his ministry were “effectively repelled”.

Some ransomware does also sometimes targets backup files, though.

Installing the patch is one way to secure computers against the virus. Radio Slovenia said Saturday the Revoz factory in the southeastern town of Novo Mesto stopped working Friday evening to stop the malware from spreading – and was working with the central office in France to resolve the problem.

The update to address the file-sharing bug that Wanna is using to spread is now available for Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003 via the links at the bottom of this advisory.

Once a vulnerable PC becomes infected, the computer will attempt to spread to other machines over the local network as well as over the internet. It was released to the web by hacker group Shadow Brokers to Github, but it’s unclear if the WannaCrypt hackers used the stolen NSA information to launch WannaCrypt.

In China, many users can’t access Microsoft’s software patch to fix the vulnerability “because many Chinese computers run on pirated Microsoft operating systems”, NPR’s Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai. But many corporations don’t automatically update their systems, because Windows updates can screw up their legacy software programs.

In this May 12, 2017 photo, a display panel with an error can be seen at the main railway station in Chemnitz, Germany.

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“Whenever there is a new patch, there is a risk in applying the patch and a risk in not applying the patch”, Mr Grobman said.

Ransomware: What is it?

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