Log in, look out: Cyberattack havoc may grow at week’s start

May 16 10:50 2017

Asked if the government had ignored warnings over the NHS being at risk from cyber attack, May told Sky News: “No”.

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said some out-patient appointments had been cancelled on Monday, especially at Selby War Memorial Hospital, but most were not affected.

Numerous 200,000 victims in more than 150 countries were still struggling to recover from the first attack of the so-called “WannaCry” virus. “The bad guys are always one step ahead”. It spread cyber chaos worldwide, hitting Britain’s hospital network, Germany’s railway and scores of companies and government agencies.

Security expert Graham Cluley summarised Brad Smith’s argument on Twitter as: “Microsoft is royally f–ed off with the NSA”.

Moreover, copycat variants of the malicious software behind the attacks are likely to spread, because the malware uses mostly open-source code and is easily replicable.

NHS Digital, which oversees United Kingdom hospital cybersecurity, said it sent alerts about the problem – and a patch to fix it – to health service staff and IT professionals last month.

Computers and networks that hadn’t recently updated their systems are still at risk because the ransomware is lurking.

“We’re in a very hard fight against these ever more sophisticated cyber crime syndicates that are using encryption to hide their activity”, he said. So this is a very serious, serious problem.

As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought the ransomware hackers, in China, state media said more than 29,000 institutions had been infected along with hundreds of thousands of devices.

That’s good news for those unfortunate enough to encounter WannaCry, but MalwareTech warns that his sinkhole “only stops this sample and there is nothing stopping them removing the domain check and trying again, so it’s incredibly importiant [sic] that any unpatched systems are patched as quickly as possible”.

Britain’s official emergency committee, known as Cobra, met in London on Saturday afternoon to discuss the cyber-attack that has caused widespread disruption to the country’s National Health Service (NHS). The other is to disable a type of software that connects computers to printers and faxes, which the virus exploits, O’Leary added. Then hours later, it destroyed victims’ computer files.

Marin Ivezic, cybersecurity partner at PwC, said that some clients had been “working around the clock since the story broke” to restore systems and install software updates, or patches, or restore systems from backups.

The president of Microsoft laid some of the blame at the feet of the US government.

The Windows vulnerability in question was purportedly identified by the NSA for its own intelligence-gathering purposes.

Oliver Gower, of the UK’s National Crime Agency, said: “Cyber criminals may believe they are anonymous but we will use all the tools at our disposal to bring them to justice”.

“There are other criminals who’ve launched this attack, and they are ultimately responsible for this”, he said from his home in Oxford, England.

The virus took control of users’ files, demanding payments.

Organisations were discouraged from paying the ransom, as it was not guaranteed that access would be restored.

“If you looked at what the biggest trends all the security companies were highlighting at the beginning of the year, ransomware was in all of their lists”, said Peter Warren Singer, a technologist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation. “You can change the locks but what has happened cannot be undone”.

Cables and computers are seen inside a data centre at an office in the heart of the financial district in London

Log in, look out: Cyberattack havoc may grow at week’s start
 
 
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