White House: Blame cyberattack on hackers, not spy agencies

Jay Anderson
May 18, 2017

Although the ransomware continued to spread at a more subdued pace yesterday, many companies and government agencies were still struggling to recover from the first attack.

"The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits", said a statement issued by Europol, Europe's police agency.

"The numbers are still going up", Wainwright said.

His concerns were echoed by James Clapper, former director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama.

Britain's National Cyber Security Center said on Sunday that it had seen "no sustained new attacks" but warned that compromised computers might not have been detected yet and that the malware could further spread within networks.

The full extent of the damage from the cyberattack felt in 150 countries was unclear and could worsen if more malicious variations of the online extortion scheme appear. The British Home Secretary said most of the NHS systems were back to normal by midday Saturday. It demands users pay Dollars 300 worth of cryptocurrency Bitcoin to retrieve their files, though it warns that the payment will be raised after a certain amount of time.

Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica, FedEx Corp.in the USA and French carmaker Renault all reported troubles.

ExtraTorrent shuts down permanently; Top 3 alternatives
It's unclear whether legal pressure had anything to do with the decision to shut down, but that wouldn't come as a surprise. He also confirmed that the Extratorrent's release group ETRG will also be saying goodbye to the torrent community.

As MalwareTech noted in a blog post afterward, the ransomware was written to connect to an unregistered domain and "if the connection is not successful it ransoms the system, if it is successful the malware exits".

"This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem", he said. "As expected, the attackers have released new variants of the malware". That's because it's a very easy way to make money. "Unfortunately, most people don't have them", Abrams says. "You're only safe if you patch as soon as possible", he tweeted. "It can be tough to tell which patch is important, until it is too late". "It should just be a case of making sure installing updates is enabled, installing the updates, and reboot".

First, there was a highly risky security hole in Microsoft Windows, which became known after hackers leaked tools that were apparently created by the U.S. National Security Agency to exploit the hole. The NSA tools were stolen by hackers and dumped on the internet. "The fact that so many computers remained vulnerable two months after the release of a patch illustrates this aspect".

The worm is primarily impacting business, where it can spread quickly through a network to take down an entire company. But Villasenor said there is "no ideal solution" to the problem. "So they no longer get the security updates they should be". Turn on auto-updaters where available (Microsoft offers that option).

Security expert Graham Cluley summarised Brad Smith's argument on Twitter as: "Microsoft is royally f--ed off with the NSA". "But there's clearly some culpability on the part of the us intelligence services". They can also act to direct their security services to disclose weaknesses in software systems, rather than keeping them secret in order to exploit them themselves against some future enemy.

Hitachi: The Japanese electronics firm said Monday that its computer systems have been experiencing problems since the weekend, including not being able to send and receive emails or open attached files. "It's a handy thing to have, but it's a unsafe thing to have".

How Do You Stop Them?

"And that's what's happening right now".

Other reports by BadHub

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