Chinese state media says US should take some blame for cyber attack

18 May, 2017, 23:13 | Author: Oscar Goodwin

He said ransomware attacks are an everyday occurrence, and that victims tend to be small businesses that don't have as much money to invest in cybersecurity.

When Microsoft sells software it does so through a licensing agreement that states the company is not liable for any security breaches, said Michael Scott, a professor at Southwestern Law School.

A feared second wave of WannaCrypt ransomware attacks has failed to materialize, but 16 UK National Health Service Trusts are still grappling with last week's infection. He says Chinese security companies have been offering their help.

Beijing has previously said the proliferation of fake news on US social media sites, which are largely banned in China, is a reason to tighten global cyber governance.

The impact of WannaCry ransomware attack has been limited to five or six isolated instances so far and there are no reports of any substantial disruption to Indias IT backbone, the government said today.

In Japan, several large manufacturers have been hit, reporter John Matthews tells NPR: "Companies including Hitachi have reported several of their systems going down, including computers at a hospital in eastern Japan. Most of the reported cases of payment of ransom are from overseas". The expert, known only by pseudonym MalwareTech, found - and activated - a kill switch in the code.

"The 5,500-strong Renault factory in Douai, northern France, one of the most important vehicle plants in the country, will not open on Monday due to the attack, sources told AFP".

In this context it's perhaps worth remembering that previous year Apple came under tremendous pressure to create a special version of iOS for the US government, under the promise that it would never escape their safe hands and get into the wild. The European Cybercrime Centre, EC3, at Europol said that the "recent [WannaCrypt] attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits".

The States of Guernsey say the vast majority of their machines operate Windows 7 or higher, so were supported by Microsoft patches.

Brad Smith, the technology firm's president and chief legal officer, criticised USA intelligence agencies the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) for "stockpiling" software code which could be exploited by hackers. He says that when the NSA lost control of the software behind the cyberattack, it was like "the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

The NSA alerted Microsoft about the issue three months ago and the company released an upgrade that patched the flaw. But we note that it's no accident that the expert, who prefers to remain anonymous and uses the name Malware Tech, registered a domain name that was called out in the code and used it to stop the worm from spreading.

In this case, the domain turned out to be a "kill switch"-on any system that made contact with the URL, the virus shut itself down". Called WannaCry or WannaCrypt, the ransomware program is spread by taking advantage of a Windows vulnerability that Microsoft released a security patch for in March.

The warning was echoed by Britain's National Cyber Security Centre: "As a new working week begins it is likely, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, that further cases of ransomware may come to light, possibly at a significant scale".

"The IT industry is prepared for any such attacks, and it is less vulnerable, as generally IT companies choose the latest software, and update security patches", said Nasscom President R Chandrasekhar, adding that if you take other normal organisations, they should now start looking at cyber security as an important and essential feature.

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