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On Friday, ransomware called WannaCry used leaked hacking tools stolen from the National Security Agency to attack an estimated 200,000 computers in 150 countries. On Monday, researchers said the same weapons-grade attack kit was used in a much earlier and possibly larger-scale hack that made infected computers part of a botnet that mined cryptocurrency.
It’s been three days since WannaCry ransomware attacks began rippling across the world, affecting more than 200,000 people and 10,000 organizations in 150 countries. And the threat of further infection still looms.
At the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, the basement of the physics building is connected to the economics building by nearly half a mile’s worth of optical fiber. It takes a photon three millionths of a second—and a physicist, about five minutes—to travel from one building to the other. Starting in November 2015, researchers beamed individual photons between the buildings, over and over again for seven months, for a physics experiment that could one day help secure your data.
Friday’s massive WannaCry ransomware attack was certainly a gut punch for many organizations. But few should be shocked by its rapid spread – especially those who remember Slammer and Conficker.
Those contagions – ancient malware by today’s standards – spread through exposed Microsoft vulnerabilities. WannaCry spread the same way. In each case, Microsoft had already released a patch for the security holes.
Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer has come out today blaming governments’ stockpiling of hacking tools as part of the reason for the recent hack that affected the NHS. WannaCrypt, the ransomware that has hit hundreds of thousands of systems in recent days was crafted based on an exploit developed by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Microsoft President, Brad Smith, said: