Ransomware known as WannaCry strikes organisations including the UK health service. Hackers used cyberweapons stolen from the US National Security Agency to strike organisations across the globe on Friday, from the UK’s National Health Service to European telecoms company Telefónica and FedEx of the US, the Financial Times has learnt.
A tool known as Eternal Blue developed by US spies was used by the hackers to supercharge an existing form of criminal malware, three senior cyber security analysts said, leading to one of the fastest-spreading and potentially damaging cyber attacks seen to date.The hackers have not come forward to claim responsibility but a mysterious hacking organisation, called Shadow Brokers, is being blamed for the attack — possibly in retaliation for US air strikes on Syria.
In April, Shadow Brokers released a piece of National Security Agency (NSA) code known as “Eternal Blue”, as part of a trove of hacking tools they said belonged to the US spy agency.
The Eternal Blue code gives access to all computers using Microsoft Windows, the world’s most popular computer operating system. The NSA had developed it to gain access to computers used by terrorists and enemy states.
It is believed that Eternal Blue, having been dumped by Shadow Brokers, was then picked up by a separate crime gang which used it to launch the extraordinary worldwide cyber security breach.
UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE
Experts are now urging Microsoft users to update their software.
Microsoft has released software patches for the security holes, although not everyone has installed those updates.
“If your software is not patched, you can exploit that user. Anyone who applied the patch that Microsoft released likely wasn’t affected by this,” John Villasenor, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles said.