tiptrot.com
tiptrot.com December 12, 2017


Ransomware Cyber-Attack A Wake-Up Call, Microsoft Warns

20 May 2017, 02:47 | Deanna Wagner

Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage.

The attacks used ransomware that apparently exploited a security flaw in Microsoft operating systems, locking users' files unless they pay the attackers a designated sum in the virtual currency Bitcoin.

Technical staff scrambled on Sunday to patch computers and restore infected ones, amid fears that the ransomware worm that stopped vehicle factories, hospitals, shops and schools could wreak fresh havoc on Monday when employees log back on.

Cyber security experts said the spread of the virus dubbed WannaCry had slowed but that the respite might only be brief amid fears it could cause new havoc on Monday when employees return to work.

When a demand for ransom payments appears on a user's screen - $300 at first, doubling to $600 in a few days - it's usually too late: All files on that computer have been encrypted and are unreadable by their owners.

The cyberattack, which began in London Friday morning, has so far affected 150 countries and locked 200,000 computers.

The hackers staging the onslaught, the official said, "have broken ranks with a foreign intelligence service", apparently referring to the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States.

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a target's data until a ransom is paid, usually in a cryptocurrency such as bitcoins.

The effect in Asian nations so far on Monday has been limited.


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.

Brad Smith, who is Microsoft's chief legal officer, said Sunday in a blog post that his company, its customers and the government all share the blame. "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". He says that when the NSA lost control of the software behind the cyberattack, it was like "the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

A Jakarta hospital said on Sunday that the cyber virus had infected 400 computers, disrupting the registration of patients and finding records. Shortly after that disclosure, Microsoft announced that it had already issued software "patches", or fixes, for those holes - but many users haven't yet installed the fixes or are using older versions of Windows.

"As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems", Mr Smith said.

When it comes to the ransomware attack, some observe that criticism of the NSA is misplaced, given that Microsoft had patched the vulnerability prior to its disclosure. If there is a flaw in Windows, the company said, surely the safest thing to do is to let its team know straight away so it can be fixed.

Marin Ivezic, cybersecurity partner at PwC, said that some clients had been "working around the clock since the story broke" to restore systems and install software updates, or patches, or restore systems from backups. Worldwide shipper FedEx Corp said some of its Windows computers were also breached. Tough - time-consuming, expensive and complex.

On top of that, the NSA would likely be able to claim that it is shielded from liability under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which says that the government cannot be sued over carrying out its official duties. The malware spreads through e-mail.

Becky Pinkard, from Digital Shadows, a UK-based cyber-security firm, told AFP news agency that it would be easy for the initial attackers or "copy-cat authors" to change the virus code so it is hard to guard against.



Other News

Trending Now

SBI Q4 profit doubles to Rs 2815 cr as NPA situation eases
SBI's GNPAs for the quarter increased by 3.8 per cent QoQ in Q4FY17 to Rs 112342 crore. On NPA assets, Bhattacharya said the NCLT is open to the bank.

Trump administration kickstarts Nafta renegotiation
Luis Videgaray, Mexico's foreign minister, said at an event in Washington Thursday that his country is ready for the talks. The Mexican official said he welcomed the opportunity to update the agreement, but insisted it must remain trilateral.

Senate Intelligence Committee requests Comey memos
The person who described the Comey memo to the AP was not authorized to discuss it by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. A pair of Senate committees, meanwhile, wants more information about Comey's interaction with President Trump.

Expansion of ban on larger electronics on airlines likely
The number of flights from Europe to the U.S. is running up to 350 a day with over 60 million passengers. An official who followed the talks said the ban was "off the table" for now.

Mother Warns About Fidget Spinner Choking Hazard In Viral Post
Fidget spinners now hold the top 16 spots on Amazon's toy rankings, taking up 43 of the top 50 spots, according to CNN. An ambulance then took the two to Texas Children's Hospital, where an X-ray was able to find the location of the part.

Harden, James top All-NBA team; George, Hayward shut out
All those awards will be announced in NY on June 26, and complete voting results will be released at that time. In his return year, he put up an astounding per contest average of 29 points, 11.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds.

Comey Forced Trump to Fire Him
The White House disputed Comey's account of the February conversation concerning Flynn, but did not offer specifics. And Trump's interaction with Comey, if confirmed, could amount to an obstruction of justice.

Paging James Comey: Some congressional Russian Federation investigators struggle to reach Federal Bureau of Investigation director
Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, says in a tweet that Mueller was a great selection with "impeccable credentials". Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee also planned to ask Comey to testify, The Hill reported .

Deepika Padukone at her stunning best: Top 5 'game changer' looks
On Day 1 of Cannes Film Festival yesterday, it was Deepika's turn to hit one of the world's most stylish red carpet. The actress has shown she can rule the red carpet, as she creates memorable outfits and captivating looks.

Premier League table: Where could every team finish this season?
Arsenal legend Ian Wright has backed Gunners fans for "voting with their feet" and boycotting the club's game against Sunderland. A victory at home to Everton on Sunday may still not be enough given and could hand them their worst league finish since 1996.