Hi-Tech

Ransomware attack again thrusts US spy agency into unwanted spotlight

Ransomware attack again thrusts US spy agency into unwanted spotlight

NHS hospitals, which were forced to divert patients from the emergency room and cancel scheduled surgeries on Friday, were slowly recovering from the attack.

The NHS has been declared "open for business" but some hospitals are still suffering disruption caused by the crippling ransomware attack.

She said: "We were instructed by the CCG to turn all computers off on Friday afternoon". It's not uncommon for them to use aliases, either to protect themselves from retaliatory attacks or for privacy. It's not hard to understand that a cyber attack on a hospital could not only prevent meaningful care on ailing patients, but could actively kill someone in need of help.

The criminals behind this attack based the WannaCry ransomware on a National Security Agency (NSA) exploit that was leaked earlier this year.

China is also set to implement a tougher new cyber security law from June 1, created to strengthen critical infrastructure, even as many global tech firms and lobbies say that its cyber rules skew the playing field against foreign firms.

Computer systems at companies and hospitals in dozens of countries were hit Friday, apparently part of a huge extortion plot.

When asked if Apple users can not be affected by such cyber-attacks, Aleksandr Yampolskiy, chief executive officer and founder of SecurityScorecard, said on Squawk Box that it is a common misconception.

"They have been working I know through the night nearly to make sure patches are in place to make sure that hopefully the NHS services can get back to normal", he told BBC radio. It locks, encrypts, and threatens to erase an infected computer unless the owner pays a gradually increasing ransom starting at about $300 worth of Bitcoin. NHS Digital, the service's tech division, says that it is actually a "much smaller number", even though Citrix acquired the data through freedom of information requests, reports BBC News.

The attack was one of the largest ransomware attacks in history.

In a blog post published on Sunday, Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, called out the US government for "stockpiling" vulnerabilities, noting that the WannaCry malware used in the attack was stolen from the NSA and published by hackers. Nonetheless, officials and security firms seemed optimistic, telling news outlets that the spread was starting to slow.

Technology powerhouse Microsoft have also responded by re-releasing security updates for older versions of their Windows software in order to mitigate further outbreaks.

USA software firm Symantec said the majority of organisations affected were in Europe, and the attack was believed to be indiscriminate.

Instead of developing hacking tools in secret and holding them for use against adversaries, governments and intelligence agencies should share weaknesses they find with Microsoft and other software makers so that vulnerabilities can be repaired.

The minister also confirmed the attack wasn't on a government organisation.


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