Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Experts Warn Businesses to Brace for more Cyber Attacks

Experts Warn Businesses to Brace for more Cyber Attacks

LONDON - British intelligence chiefs have warned that businesses must brace for further cyber attacks after the debilitating WannaCry virus swept through computers around the world in the past few days.
According to the Financial Times, data shows that more than 1.3 million computer systems are still vulnerable to infection by WannaCry, which has paralyzed hospitals, disrupted transport networks and immobilized businesses around the world.
So far, 200,000 computers across 150 countries are known to have been infected in the first wave of the WannaCry cyber attack, Europol said on Sunday.
“The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex international investigation to identify the culprits,” the European police agency added.
Financial Times reported that intelligence agencies in Europe and the U.S have spent the weekend warning large companies and organizations that the threat from the ransomware — a category of malicious software that encrypts infected machines’ hard drives and demands payment to release the data again — may escalate.
The article stated that officials felt there was no evidence WannaCry had been updated by its creators to address the element in its coding that halted its spread late on Friday but they believe WannaCry is the creation of a criminal group.
However, the scale of the incident has prompted international co-ordination from governments and law enforcement.
Reuters reported that U.S President Donald Trump ordered his homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, to hold an emergency meeting Friday night to assess the threat posed by the ransomware attack.
Senior security staff held another meeting in the White House Situation Room on Saturday, and the FBI and National Security Agency were trying to identify the perpetrators of the massive cyber attack, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated Reuters.
The Financial Times reported that the list of organizations hit by WannaCry has steadily lengthened: alongside Britain’s National Health Service, victims include the Deutsche Bahn, FedEx, Russia’s ministry of the interior, Renault, Telefónica and China National Petroleum Corp.
Russia, Ukraine, India and Taiwan were the most seriously affected countries, according to cyber security company Kaspersky Lab.
The ransomware that has locked up hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries has been mainly spread by e-mail, hitting factories, hospitals, shops and schools worldwide, the Financial Times reported.
Meanwhile, at Indonesia’s biggest cancer hospital, Dharmais Hospital in Jakarta, around 100-200 people packed waiting rooms after the institution was hit by cyber attacks affecting scores of computers on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Chinese state media Xinhua meanwhile reported that 29,000 institutions across China had been infected by the cyber attack.
According to Xinhua, by Saturday night, 29,372 institutions had been infected along with hundreds of thousands of devices.
It says universities and educational institutions were among the hardest hit, numbering 4,341, or about 15 percent of internet protocol addresses attacked. Also affected were railway stations, mail delivery, gas stations, hospitals, office buildings, shopping malls and government services.
AP however reported that Microsoft’s top lawyer is laying some of the blame for the massive cyber attack at the feet of the U.S government.
Brad Smith criticized U.S intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency, for “stockpiling” software code that can be used by hackers.
Cybersecurity experts say the unknown hackers who launched this weekend’s ransomware attacks used a vulnerability that was exposed in NSA documents leaked online.
In a post on Microsoft’s blog, Smith says: “An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.”
Microsoft’s lawyer says governments should “report vulnerabilities” that they discover to software companies, “rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them.” (Tolonews)