Saturday, May 13, 2017

Massive cyberattack targeting 99 countries causes sweeping havoc

On Friday, May 12th, a massive cyber hacking scheme compromised the networking systems in 99 countries, withholding them from accessing the internet until a ransom fine was paid. Avast, a cyber security firm, said they had identified over 75,000 attacks, claiming it to be the most damaging cyber attack in history. The ransomware is called "WannaCry" and mainly targeted files on computers in Russia, Ukraine,  and Taiwan, as well as universities in China, and hospitals in the United Kingdom. What is unfortunate about this situation is that this ransomware is a hacking tool used by the National Security Agency. This tool also exploits computers that have versions of Microsoft that were not updated using a security patch that they put out in March of this year. The affected computers are given a deadline of six hours to pay the ransom. For each hour not paid, the ransom goes up. In the United Kingdom where hospital networks had been hit, patients were advised to avoid emergency departments and had many appointments canceled. In China, an internet security company known as Qihoo360 sent out a "red alert" saying that many colleges and students had been exposed to the cyber hacks. They went so far as to declare the instance a state of emergency. In addition, a Spanish telephone company known as Telefonica has observed that they were attacked through a vulnerability known as "EternalBlue" and recommended that people update their software. In Russia, it was noted that less than one percent of computers were affected and that the situation had been "localized". It is highly likely that computers in the United States will also be affected and the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Friday that told people it would be in their best interest to update their systems.

No comments: