NSA Stupidity Created Cyber Crisis
A ransomware virus is spreading aggressively around the globe, with over 100,000 computers in 99 countries having been targeted, according to the latest data. The virus infects computer files and then demands bitcoins to unblock them.
Russia’s central bank said on Saturday it had detected “massive” cyber attacks on domestic banks, which successfully thwarted them, the RIA news agency reported.
The ransomware, known as WanaCrypt0r 2.0, or WannaCry, is believed to have infected National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in the UK and Spain’s biggest national telecommunications firm, Telefonica.
The ransomware virus which extorts Windows users by blocking their personal files and demanding payment to restore access, allegedly exploits a vulnerability that was discovered and concealed for future use by the National Security Agency (NSA), according to a range of security experts.
“Our analysis indicates the attack, dubbed “WannaCry”, is initiated through an SMBv2 remote code execution in Microsoft Windows. This exploit (codenamed “EternalBlue”) has been made available on the internet through the Shadowbrokers dump on April 14th, 2017,” Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, wrote in a blog post about the attack.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has led the discussion on NSA’s role and responsibility in Friday’s extensive cyberattacks, noting that if the NSA had “privately disclosed the flaw used to attack hospitals when they found it, not when they lost it, this may not have happened.”
Snowden noted that the NSA developed these “dangerous attack tools that could target Western software” despite warnings, and that it’s now up to congress to question the agency on its knowledge of any other software vulnerabilities.
Wikileaks also referred to its dealings with the whistleblower behind its Vault 7 CIA releases who warned of the extreme proliferation risk in the creation of cyber weapons.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said the cyberattack on UK hospitals is part of a wider international attack.
In Sweden, the mayor of Timra said “around 70 computers have had a dangerous code installed,” Reuters reported.
According to Avast, the ransomware has also targeted Ukraine and Taiwan.