Fresh barrage of cyber attacks set to hit today

Glen Mclaughlin
May 16, 2017

Security agencies have so far not been able to identify who was behind the attack.

A fast-moving wave of cyberattacks swept the globe overnight, reportedly exploiting a flaw exposed in documents leaked from the US National Security Agency.

Lawless reported from London. Instead, they can use them for intelligence gathering or law enforcement.

The government recommends reporting ransomware immediately to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the U.S. Secret Service, and advises against paying ransoms, saying that payment is no guarantee of recovering data, and that it only encourages further attacks. In 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California said it had paid a $17,000 ransom to regain control of its computers from hackers.

He said the motivation remained unknown but ransomware attacks were normally "criminally minded".

Shortly after that disclosure, Microsoft announced that it had already issued software "patches" for those holes. Lieu said the current disclosure process is not transparent, and often misunderstood.

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

However, there have been some reports of ambulances being diverted from affected hospitals and individual NHS trusts have asked registered patients not to attend unless it is urgent.

Some privacy advocates say that if the NSA had disclosed the vulnerability when it was first discovered, the outbreak may have been prevented.

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British cybersecurity expert Graham Cluley doesn't want to blame the NSA for the attack, though he said they have a duty to citizens who "are living an online life".

Researchers from three security firms dismissed initial reports on Saturday that a new version of WannaCry/WannaCrypt had emerged, saying this was based on a rushed analysis of code data that proved erroneous.

- How can people protect their computers?

Switching on will allow the HSE's central IT systems to update local machines with security patches and anti-virus capability, it said. "No matter how this was disclosed or when it was disclosed, some percentage of businesses would not have applied".

"Ransomware becomes particularly nasty when it infects institutions like hospitals, where it can put people's lives in danger", said Kroustek, the Avast analyst. They were forced to reschedule patients, and people were warned to stay away from emergency rooms if possible. Those facilities are not unique. "They're just a huge organisation which has had insufficient investment in computer security over the years". Microsoft released a patch back in March, but many users and organizations had not updated their systems with the the fix.

Researchers say this type of ransomware will continue. "Or we could potentially see copycats mimic the delivery or exploit method they used".

"We are aware that a number of NHS organisations have reported that they have suffered from a ransomware attack".

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake up call", Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, wrote in a blog post about what is being called the largest ransomware attack ever.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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