Pirates launch a ransom attack on tens of thousands of computers

May

13

2017

in about 100 countries

attack has disrupted dozens of companies, most notably the British health system and FedEx.
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A global cyber attack using hacking tools believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries, disrupting the British health system and FedEx.

In the attack, which was described as the world’s largest ransom attack of all time, the pirates scammed the victims and opened them with attachments containing malicious software sent with spam that appeared to include bills, important offers, security warnings, and other legitimate files.

After opening malicious software, which belongs to the ransom software, it encrypted data on computers, asking victims to pay ransom ranging from 300 to 600 dollars to restore access to encrypted data.

Security researchers said they noticed that some of the victims were being paid by digital coinage, although they did not know what percentage was given to extortion. Investigators from Avast, a security software development firm, said they had seen 57,000 cases in 99 countries, most of them in Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan.

Asian countries did not report any major violations on Saturday, but officials in the region were scrambling to verify and guard against the extent of the damage. Some high schools and universities were affected by the attack without revealing its identity and number, Xinhua news agency reported.

Most of the devastating attacks were reported in Britain, where hospitals and clinics were forced on Friday to dispense with patients after they lost access to their computers. International shipping company FedEx said some of its Windows machines were also infected. “We are taking remedial measures as soon as possible,” she said in a statement.

Vikram Thakur, research director at security software development company Symantec, said only a handful of US-based companies had been hit, as pirates appeared to have started their campaign by targeting companies in Europe.

By the time they turned their attention to the United States, spam filters had identified the new threat and identified e-mail messages loaded with malicious software as malicious, Thackur said.

The US Department of Homeland Security said late on Friday that it was aware of reports of malware attacks and confirmed that it was ready to exchange information with local and foreign partners and to provide technical support.

Telefonica was among many targets in Spain, although the attack was limited to some computers on an internal network and did not affect customers or services. Telecom Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina also announced that they were among the targets.

Private security companies have identified the ransom software used as a new version of WannaCry, which has the ability to automatically spread over large networks by exploiting a known vulnerability in Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

Researchers from several private cybersecurity companies said the hackers, who were not recognized or claimed to be responsible for the attack, may have made their software a “worm” or self-propagating malware by exploiting part of the code developed by the US National Security Agency Eternal Blue, was published online last month by a group of hackers known as shadow brokers.

For its part, Microsoft said it has launched an automatic update of Windows to protect its customers from WannaCry software. Last March, it launched an update to protect users from the Eternal Blue vulnerability.

The spread of ransom software is believed to come at a sensitive time. It comes after a week of cybercrime in Europe, which began last week when pirates published a series of campaign documents linked to French candidate Emmanuel Macaron before the re-election, .

On Wednesday, pirates blocked the sites of several French media companies and the aerospace giant Airbus. The new attacks come four weeks before the British general election, where national security and the NHS are important issues

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In: Technology & Gadgets Asked By: [17511 Red Star Level]

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