It seems that the world is living a real cyber apocalypse. Russia is the most affected country in the global attack that experts describe as “the biggest outbreak of ransomware in history . ” What’s more, up to 99 countries may have been affected by the ransomware cyber attack that has even infected the British National Health System (NHS). Experts say it is the largest attack of its type that has been registered.
As we have commented, Russia is the most affected nation. The Russian Interior Ministry said in a statement that about 1,000 computers had been infected but had localized the virus. Spain, Ukraine and India have also been severely affected, according to researchers at Kaspersky Lab.
According to the latest registry, malware has already affected at least 74 countries. However, security software researchers Avast said they had observed 57,000 infections in 99 countries , citing Taiwan among leading targets. The cyber security expert Varun Badwhar explained that the attack has served to have a slight idea of what a “cyber-apocalypse” would look like.
“This is an unprecedented attack ,” Badwhar said. “We have never seen anything spread so quickly in a 24-hour period across countries and continents. So definitely one of those things we’ve always heard that could happen and now we’re seeing it as it happens. It’s really a cyber-apocalypse. “
Mikko Hypponen, an expert from technology company F-Secure, has called it the biggest ransomware outbreak in history . Chris Wysopal of computer security firm Veracode said criminal organizations are likely to be behind the attack , given the rapid spread of malware. Telefónica de España, a global broadband and telecommunications company, was one of the companies affected. Portugal Telecom and Telefónica Argentina were also attacked. International transport company FedEx Corp said some of its Windows computers were also infected.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is malicious software that infects computers, blocks them by encrypting data and then tries to extort money to allow users to use them again. The software used in the latest attacks is called WannaCry, or Wanna Decryptor, and exploits a vulnerability in the Windows operating system. It allows malware to automatically propagate through networks, so it can quickly infect a large number of machines in the same organization.
Cyber-crooks trick their victims into opening malicious attachments in spam messages that appeared to contain bills, job postings, security warnings, and other seemingly legitimate files. Payments requested to restore access range from 300 to 600 dollars , to be paid comfortably also through Bitcoin digital currency. Spain has been one of the first countries to take measures to protect critical infrastructure in response to the attack.
The Spanish authorities said they were communicating with the transport service, telecommunications companies and financial service providers to report the attack. Telefonica said the attack was limited to some computers in an internal network, and had not affected customers or services . In the US, extortion by now has not been widespread.
In a matter of weeks a group of hackers called Shadow Brokers decided to release all kinds of malware, a group of tools belonging to the National Security Agency (NSA). It now appears that a filtered NSA tool, a Microsoft Windows exploit called EternalBlue, is being used as a method for the rapid worldwide spread of a variant called ransomware WannaCry.
Some experts in the matter assert that this variant of WannaCry is a weapon of mass destruction , once it accesses on a PC without patches it spreads like “gunpowder.” Given that the malware is scanning the entire Internet for vulnerable computers, the infection is expected to worsen over the weekend. So many conspiracy theorists are convinced that this is a “cyberarma” of the National Security Agency . With this tool, they could take control of all the computers in the world. Now we only have to know the next step of the “secret agenda”.
Will it be absolute control of the Internet? What are the different government agencies preparing? Or is it perhaps the beginning of World War III?