June 28, 2017

New cyber chaos appears to have been avoided: Europol

16 May 2017, 01:03 | Miranda Porter

Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack in over 70 countries, although both said the attack had hit Russian Federation the hardest.

Spanish telco giant Telefonica and U.S. delivery service FedEx were among the businesses affected.

"Symantec uncovered evidence linking North Korea to attacks on banks in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ecuador and Poland", Hussam Sidani, regional manager for Symantec Gulf, told Gulf News. It locks users' files and demands a $300 (£230) payment to allow access.

In France, carmaker Renault said one of its French plants, which employs 3,500 people, would stay closed on Monday as technicians dealt with the cyberattack's aftermath. Hospitals, universities, manufacturers and government agencies in the U.K., China, Russia, Germany and Spain have all been affected.

The ransomware known as "WannaCry" or "WannaCrypt" or "WannaDecrypt" affects vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows computers and it is believed to be using technology developed by the National Security Agency that, according to The Intercept, was leaked by hackers in mid-April.

Financial markets on Monday did not seem to worry much, most major indices were up.

Health trusts across England were sent details of an IT security patch that would have protected them from the crippling ransomware attack, NHS Digital has said. Considering Microsoft took the rare step of issuing a patch for old, unsupported versions of Windows that are nevertheless found in the wild, there's no excuse for not doing so.

As cybersecurity firms worked around the clock to monitor the situation and install a software patch, new variants of the rapidly replicating malware were discovered Sunday. However, a hacker could rewrite the code to omit the kill switch and start trying to infect new machines with a new version of it. As a failsafe, he says keep a backup of important files somewhere other than on your computer.

"I still expect another to pop up and be fully operational", Kalember said.

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call", Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said.

The president of Microsoft laid some of the blame at the feet of the US government.

As the country is now in the midst of an election campaign, it was clear that the episode would be seized on by Labour and the Lib Dems, who say the Conservative party are to blame because of underfunding of the service, and a lack of disaster planning.

Cybersecurity experts say the unknown hackers behind the "Wannacry" attack used a vulnerability exposed in USA government documents leaked online. "It's just like kidnapping of your child by criminals, holding it hostage and demanding a huge ransom", he noted.

The agency's senior spokesman, Jan Op Gen Oorth, said it was still "a bit early too say who is behind it, but we are working on a decrypting tool". The ransomware (so called because you need to pay ransom to get your hard disk liberated) get into the drives and compress all the software and blocking the use of the computer. "It's like after a robber enters your home".

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