Another Global Cyber Attack Brings Major Firms Down Across Globe:- Russia's biggest oil company, Ukrainian banks and multinational firms have been affected by another major global cyber attack on Tuesday disrupting computers, just like a virus similar to the ransomware that infected more than 300,000 computers last month.
There have been increasing concerns about the rapidly spreading cyber extortion campaign, that businesses have failed to warrant their networks from increasingly aggressive hackers. The hackers have shown that they are capable of shutting down the critical infrastructure and disabling corporate and government networks.
It included a code known as “Eternal Blue”. The cyber security experts widely believe that the code was stolen from the US National Security Agency (NSA) and was also used in the ransomware attack, named "WannaCry”, last month.
Chief Executive of Cyber Security firm Secure Ideas, Kevin Johnson said, “Cyber attacks can simply destroy us. To fix the problem, companies are just not doing what they are supposed to do.”
By encrypting hard drives and overwriting files, the ransomware virus crippled computers running Microsoft Corp's Windows. To restore access, they further demanded USD300 in bitcoin payments. According to a public ledger of transactions listed on blockchain.info, more than 30 victims paid into the bitcoin account associated with the attack.
The virus could spread through a flaw that was patched in a security update in March, said Microsoft. A spokesman for the company said, “We are continuing to investigate and will take appropriate action to protect customers.” Microsoft antivirus software detects and removes it, added the spokesperson.
According to security software maker Kaspersky Lab, the countries which are most affected by the thousands of attacks are Russia and Ukraine, while the other victim countries affected by this virus include Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the United States.
In the wake of WannaCry last month, to protect them against attacks using Eternal Blue code, security experts said that they expected the impact to be smaller than WannaCry since many computers had been patched with Windows updates. Juniper Networks said in a blog post analyzing the attack, when compared to the traditional strains of ransomware, the attack could be more dangerous, because it makes computers unresponsive and unable to reboot.
The attack may have borrowed malware code used in earlier ransomware campaigns known as "Petya" and "GoldenEye”, said the researchers. The businesses and consumers were advised aggressively by the governments, security firms and industrial groups, to make sure all their computers were updated with Microsoft patches, to protect against the threat, following previous month attack.
The attacks are being monitored and are coordinating with other countries, said The US Department of Homeland Security. The victims were advised not to pay the extortion, saying that doing so does not guarantee access will be restored. The White House National Security Council, in a statement, said there was no risk to public safety currently. The attack is being investigated by the United States and determined to hod those who are responsible. The NSA however, did not comment any. The spy agency publicly has not said whether it built Eternal Blue and other hacking tools leaked online by an entity known as Shadow Brokers.
“We believe Shadow Brokers is tied to the Russian government, and that the North Korean government was behind WannaCry,” said security experts. However, both the countries denied charges that they are involved in hacking.