Hackers Working On A Global ‘ExplodingCan’ Cyber Attack

  • The hack targets computers worldwide running on Microsoft Windows 2003
  • It exploits a known flaw in the servers, triggering a buffer overflow
  • This allows hackers to remotely access the computer, and plant ransomware

Experts have warned that a devastating global cyber attack is imminent.

The hack, called ‘ExplodingCan’, targets computers running on Microsoft Windows 2003, which means that it could be used to attack 375,000 computers worldwide.

This puts it in the same risk category as last month’s WannaCry ransomware attack which caused mayhem around the world, crippling vital servers such as those used by the NHS.

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Stop Blaming the NSA for the Ransomware Attack 

An inside look at how the intelligence community deals with the exploitable software bugs it finds

Friday’s global ransomware attack has reignited the debateabout how the U.S. intelligence community conceals or reveals knowledge about critical software bugs. As confirmed by a former NSA official, WannaCry exploited a vulnerability stockpiled by the agency and exposed in last year’s Shadow Brokers dump. But how much blame should the NSA bear for WannaCry’s rampage across 200,000-plus computers in 130 countries?

On the one hand, the intelligence community really does keep a trove of zero-day bugs. Spies need them to intercept communications — and much more, according to Michael Daniel, an Obama-era White House cybersecurity coordinator.

“Disclosing a vulnerability can mean that the U.S. forgoes an opportunity to collect crucial intelligence that could thwart a terrorist attack, stop the theft of our nation’s intellectual property, or even discover more dangerous vulnerabilities that are being used by hackers or other adversaries to exploit our networks. So automatic disclosure is not always the right policy choice,” said Daniel in an email to Defense One….continue reading

The Fallout from WannaCry

There was a joke going around thirty years ago, a not very good joke but like any two-edged sword it cut either way, that said that Israel was a “one disk” country. The meaning was that everyone copied stuff from their friends and didn’t pay for it.

At that time there was not much worry about computers or security, there were no smartphones (the Blackberry was just emerging), and the Internet was there but not the gargantuan edifice it is today.

But copying at that time was mostly a problem for the music industry, and as computer processors, storage and memory improved, it also became a worry for film producers who feared losing revenue.  But still we were in early days.

Today much of the fraud in the computer business is illegally copied software. Big American companies, and probably big companies in Europe and some in Asia, are careful to use only licensed software because of the fear they might get caught pirating software from commercial vendors. But smaller companies are less inclined to worry about such things and, in some countries, stealing commercial software is quite common, even for major industries including banking.

That is why it is so interesting that Russia and China experienced a large number of ransomware attacks recently, part of the WannaCry exploit. In Russia, there are a large number of users (including probably some in government agencies) who use pirated software. One of the problems of pirated software is that you cannot easily keep the software up to date. That’s because in most cases to do so requires that you go with your registered and authenticated copy to the software manufacturer for updates. If yours is illegal, you don’t do that, or perhaps you try to figure out what the patch or update is, and install it yourself. By and large this left computers in Russia heavily exposed to the ransomware attack, which angered Vladimir Putin who, partly correctly, blamed NSA in the United States for his troubles.

It is not just Russia, of course. There are four reasons why WannaCry became such a threat. These are…continue reading

Top 15 Things to Know About the ‘WannaCry’ Global Ransomware Hacker Attack

Over the weekend, a virus infected thousands of computers around the world, locking up their data until a ransom was paid. Experts believe the virus uses tools stolen from the NSA to infect computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system.

The impact of the attack, using a virus known as ‘WannaCry’, appears limited in the United States so far, although security analysts fear that could change in the coming days. The virus has been running wild across Europe and Asia, inflicting an untold amount of financial damage and putting lives in danger, since one of the biggest targets was Britain’s National Health System.

Following are 15 important facts about WannaCry, including tips on how to protect vulnerable systems…. continue reading

WannaCry Ransomware: Microsoft Calls Out NSA For ‘Stockpiling’ Vulnerabilities

When the National Security Agency lost control of the software behind the WannaCry cyberattack, it was like “the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen,” Microsoft President Brad Smith says, in a message about the malicious software that has created havoc on computer networks in more than 150 countries since Friday.

“This is an emerging pattern in 2017,” Smith, who is also chief legal officer, says in a Microsoft company blog post. “We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world. Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage.”

On affected computers, the WannaCry software encrypts files and displays a ransom message demanding $300 in bitcoin. It has attacked hundreds of thousands of computers, security experts say, from hospital systems in the U.K. and a telecom company in Spain to universities and large companies in Asia. And the software is already inspiring imitators, as the Bleeping Computer site reports…. continue reading

5 Things You Need To Know About A Dangerous Computer Bug Attacking 150 Countries

A massive cyberattack that was initially launched on Friday continued to spread on Monday to over 200,000 computers in 150 countries. The attack – considered to be the largest cyberattack to date – for now seems to be contained, but there are still concerns that more cyberattacks could soon occur. President Donald Trump held an emergency meeting Friday evening on the matter.

Here are five things you need to know about it…. continue reading

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