Beware: Worldwide Ransomware Attack May Be Far from Over

Joan Terry
May 18, 2017

The statement also shows that a "monthly data dump" has been set up, which could offer hackers the necessary tools to break into routers, phones, and even web browsers. Like WannaCry, this earlier, previously unknown attack used an exploit codenamed EternalBlue and a backdoor called DoublePulsar, both of which were NSA-developed hacking tools leaked in mid April by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers.

It also threatened to dump data from banks using the SWIFT worldwide money transfer network and from Russian, Chinese, Iranian or North Korean nuclear and missile programs.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) urged Nigerians to obtain software patch released by Microsoft in March 2017 to fix the Ransomware Virus; plan scheduled penetration tests on the networks and systems to ensure protection and availability at all times. By that time, Microsoft had discovered the bug on its own and issued a security update, but many users with older versions of Windows no longer receive such updates.

Some security researchers have said that it was possible for the North Korea-linked Lazarus Group to be behind the attack, but added that they would have to do more research. However, not everyone has installed the patch yet, and those who have not are vulnerable to WannaCry.

FireEye, another large cyber security firm, said it was also investigating, but it was cautious about drawing a link to North Korea. "We have seen earlier that black hats would mainly attack and deface Indian websites but now the objective is mainly money".

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U.S. and European security officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity that it was too early to say who might be behind the attacks, but they did not rule out North Korea as a suspect. The United States accused it of being behind a cyber attack on Sony Pictures in 2014.

Several Asian countries have been affected by the malware, although the impact has not been as widespread as some had feared. It did not name any of the entities.

"We're looking at many decades of building complex systems - one on top of the other - with no effort to go back to fix what we did wrong along the way", said Wendy Nather, principal security strategist at Duo Security, who has worked in security for 22 years. The services industry is the most affected with 38% of ransomware attacks happening in the services industry, followed by manufacturing, public administration, finance and insurance and real estate as well as wholesale.

WannaCry has largely been mitigated, but there are still hackers using the same exploit to infect computers - showing not everyone is able to fix their systems quickly.

Other reports by BadHub

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