Ransomware attack hits 200,000 computers across the globe

May 15, 2017

By Matt Reynolds

Countries around the world are still dealing with an ongoing ransomware attack that hit institutions and businesses worldwide, including hospitals in the UK, the Russian interior ministry and universities in China.

The outbreak started on Friday and spread quickly across the world, infecting around 200,000 computers in 150 countries. In the UK, the malware invaded at least 60 NHS trusts, preventing doctors from accessing patient records and forcing them to cancel non-urgent procedures. Europe and Russia were hit particularly hard, before its advance was slowed when a security researcher in the UK stumbled on a web domain hidden in the malware’s code. When he registered the domain it triggered a “kill switch” that prevented many instances of the virus from spreading.

Dubbed WannaCry, the malicious software was a form of ransomware. The first computers were infected by people unwittingly clicking links in phishing emails. But from each patient zero the software then spread through computer networks by itself. Once installed on a machine, the malware encrypted all of the files it could find, locking them away from users. The first most people knew of the infection was a pop-up screen informing them that the contents of their computer would be deleted after seven days unless they paid a bitcoin ransom equivalent to $300.

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3 comments on “Ransomware attack hits 200,000 computers across the globe

  • When Apple, a few months ago, stood up to the US Government’s bully tactics some of us on this site warned that once Apple’s iPhone security was broken, it would get into the public domain.

    Now, several news outlets are reporting that Microsoft has warned that Windows security was broken by the CIA and FBI and they have had their servers hacked – thus making this attack, and probably others like it, possible.

    Yet both the US and GB governments continue to target our best defence: encryption. This is beyond foolish – it’s pathetically moronic. People like Amber Rudd, who is clearly utterly clueless, are applying political rules of thumb to a sophisticated set of technologies that require thoughtful reflection based on a thorough understanding.

    The World seems to me to be going quite mad.



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  • 2
    rocket888 says:

    It only seems mad if you have “faith” in Governments; that they’re good, hold the public’s interests ahead of their own, and are not populated by bullies who enjoy pushing people around.

    A good rule of thumb is when you can’t understand a government policy, replace the word government with mafia and then ask the same questions, such as why would the Mafia want to be able to break the public’s encryption codes. Everything becomes much clearer then.



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  • rocket888 #2
    May 17, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    A good rule of thumb is when you can’t understand a government policy, replace the word government with mafia and then ask the same questions,

    In some places they seem to have changed more than just words!

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-cable-spain-russian-mafia

    WikiLeaks cables: Russian government ‘using mafia for its dirty work

    Russia and its intelligence agencies are using mafia bosses to carry out criminal operations such as arms trafficking, according to allegations contained in the US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.

    The Kremlin’s spy agencies have such a close relationship with top organised criminals that Russia has become a “virtual ‘mafia state’,” the cables say. The gangsters enjoy secret support and protection and in effect work “as a complement to state structures”.

    A senior Spanish investigator alleged to the US that Moscow’s strategy was to use “organised crime groups to do whatever the government of Russia cannot acceptably do as a government“.
    Recent operations included gun-running to the Kurds “in an attempt to destabilise Turkey” and “arms trafficking” in the mysterious Arctic Sea cargo ship hijacking in 2009.

    The allegations are made by José “Pepe” Grinda Gonzalez, Spain’s national court prosecutor. Gonzalez has spent 10 years battling the Russian mafia and was responsible for the investigation of Zakhar Kalashov, reportedly the most senior mafia figure to be jailed outside Russia.

    Spain conducted two major operations – codenamed Avispa (2005-07) and Troika (2008-09) – against mafia networks on its territory, resulting in the arrest of more than 60 suspects.
    They include four of the alleged leaders outside Russia: Gennady Petrov, Alexander Malyshev (Petrov’s deputy), Vitaly Izguilov (a key lieutenant) and Kalashov. Despite this, the networks are said to have swiftly reconstituted.

    On 13 January 2010 Gonzalez, a special prosecutor for corruption and organised crime, gave a “detailed, frank” briefing to US officials in Madrid.
    In a classified presentation to a new US-Spain counter-terrorism and organised crime experts’ working group he said the mafia now exercised tremendous control over sectors of the global economy.

    He said Russia, Belarus and Chechnya – the Muslim republic of Russia run by a pro-Moscow president, Ramzan Kadyrov – were “virtual ‘mafia states’ “. Ukraine was “going to be one”, he predicted. He spoke shortly before presidential elections in Ukraine won by the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych. The country is now back under Moscow’s sway.
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    “For each of these countries … one cannot differentiate between the activities of the government and OC (organised crime) groups,” Gonzalez told the US delegation.

    Now why would the FBI be investigating Trump cabinet appointments with business connection in Russia???



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