Ransomware Illustrates Danger of Government 'Exploits'

Security agencies are hunting for those behind a crippling cyberattack which has so far hit hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, including at government agencies, factories and health services. He added that the rate of infection has slowed over the weekend. Because of those successes, the software is already inspiring imitators, as the Bleeping Computer site reports.

MalwareTech, who works for cybersecurity firm Kryptos Logic, is part of a large global cybersecurity community who are constantly watching for attacks and working together to stop or prevent them, often sharing information via Twitter. Bossert said the US hasn't ruled out involvement by a foreign government, but that the recent ransom demands suggest a criminal network. Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Fallon said the Vanguard submarines that carry the deterrent "operate in isolation" when on patrol, implying that they can't be hacked remotely. Three days later, reports of WannaCry are now spiking in Asia. The initial attack had started after many offices had closed Friday.

"Scottish Government health officials are now working closely with affected boards to assess the extent of the problem, and take steps to isolate affected systems, which have been affected by a Ransomware cyber-attack of the kind which has also affected health trusts in NHS England". He says Chinese security companies have been offering their help.

Smith said the malicious WannaCrypt software "were drawn from the exploits stolen from the National Security Agency". It locks down all the files on an infected computer. "However, Hitachi and others have mostly only reported loss of email and other secondary functionalities". Power utilities also reported problems.

Follow this link for live tracking of the malware attack.

The attack held users hostage by freezing their computers, popping up a red screen with the words, "Oops, your files have been encrypted!" and demanding money through online bitcoin payment - $300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.

He said it was "too early to say" what the overall cost of the attack to public coffers would be.

The blame game, ransomware edition: Who's at fault?
As for anonymous bitcoin transactions, he said, it is sometimes possible to follow them until an identifiable person is found. In Japan, companies such as Hitachi and Nissan reported problems but said their operations had not been seriously affected.

Europol said few banks in Europe had been affected, having learned through the "painful experience of being the number one target of cyber crime" the value of having the latest cyber security in place.

"This attack is a powerful reminder that information technology basics like keeping computers current and patched are a high responsibility for everyone, and it's something every top executive should support", said Smith.

The identity of whoever deployed the software remains unknown.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, said in a blog post yesterday that the culprits used a code developed by the US National Security Agency.

"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the United States military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

Theft of the software was reported in April, when it was published by the Shadow Brokers, a group that has been linked to Russian Federation. (NASDAQ: MSFT) issued a security patch in March that resolved the problem for machines running Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016.

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