A new wave of worldwide victims logged into their computers Monday morning to find that they were being held for ransom in a Global cyber attack. And the latest word on the dangerous virus has come from Vladimir Putin who has blamed the United States for the Global threat that has crippled computer systems in critical government agencies and even hospitals around the world. Putin said that Russia had “nothing to do” with the attack and blamed the US for creating the hacking software that affects Microsoft computers. “Malware created by intelligence agencies can backfire on its creators,” said Putin, speaking to media in Beijing. The president of Russia added that global leaders must discuss cyber security at a “serious political level” and noted that the US has backed away from signing a cyber security agreement with Russia.
This new wave of threat has hit both Japan and China hard. Japanese experts said that approximately 2,000 PC’s were affected and a Chinese news agency reported that almost 30,000 computers were hit with the “WannaCry” ransonware. This virus locks computer systems down and demands $300 ransom in Bitcoins. It hit over 300,000 computers on Friday and the impact continued to grow over the weekend. So far, close to $43,000 has been paid in ransoms according to an analysis of Bitcoin wallets. On Sunday night, Microsoft blasted the US intelligence agency that had originally developed the software that allowed the ransomware attack to infect computers world-wide. The “Eternal Blue” tool was developed by the National Security Agency and was leaked to the public internet by a hacking group known as the “Shadow Brokers.”
“The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call,” In a statement, Microsoft president Brad Smith said. “Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage. An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.”
Ironically, the virus was slowed significantly over the weekend by a 22-year-old named Marcus Hutchins. While some of the world’s leading experts were focused on trying to stop the spread of the ransomware, this young, quick-thinking IT expert found a “kill switch” web domain deep in the software’s code and registered it. Hutchins is apparently now working with some of those experts to try and halt the continued attacks.
Is Putin right? Is the US to blame for developing the hacking software? Or is this another Russian scheme to disrupt the world’s institutions?
Credit: The Telegraph