WannaCry Malware Cyber-Attack Continues

Fernando Stephens
May 18, 2017

According to a daily, Microsoft has issued a statement saying that it has developed and released a special update for Windows XP although this particular version of its operating system is no longer serviced by the company.

Over the weekend, the ransomware has hit systems in more than 150 countries, including Russian Federation and the United Kingdom, in one of the most widespread cyber attacks in history.

Since the NSA had known about this Windows 10 vulnerability without telling Microsoft, Smith argued, the agency is at least partially to blame. Microsoft President Brad Smith, along with numerous cyber security experts, acknowledged that the attack leveraged a hacking exploit created by the U.S. National Security Agency, which was leaked online in April.

Railway stations, mail delivery, gas stations, hospitals, office buildings, shopping malls and government services were affected, the news agency said, citing the Threat Intelligence Center of Qihoo 360, a Chinese internet security services company.

On social media students complained about not being able to access their work, and people in various cities said they hadn't been able to take their driving tests over the weekend because some local traffic police systems were down. "If someone kidnaps your child, you may pay your ransom but there is no guarantee your child will return". Activating the domain worked as a kill switch for the malware.

"We haven't fully dodged this bullet at all until we're patched against the vulnerability itself", Kalember said.

Smith would go on suggesting that governments need "wake-up" and take cyberspace as seriously as they take weapons in the physical world, and renewed calls for a "Digital Geneva Convention" to prevent attacks of this scale in the future.

Expert finds more North Korea links in ransomware attack
The attack has caused most damage in Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine and India, according to Czech security firm Avast. Lazarus was behind the attacks on Sony and the Bangladesh banks for example.

"More action is needed, and it's needed now", he said.

"The numbers are still going up", Wainwright said. Brad Smith criticized US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency, for "stockpiling" software code that can be used by hackers.

"This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem", he said.

Op Gen Oorth said on Monday it was still "a bit early too say who is behind it, but we are working on a decrypting tool".

"The number of victims appears not to have gone up and so far the situation seems stable in Europe, which is a success", senior spokesman for Europol, Jan Op Gen Oorth told AFP.

Many people in fact believe someone at NSA must have tipped Microsoft that the files had been stolen, which is how it knew it needed to push out that particular patch, said Ryan Kalember of Proofpoint, a Sunnyvale, Calif. -based security firm whose researchers were instrumental in fighting the the WannaCry attack.

Other reports by BadHub

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