Attacks/Breaches

5/12/2017
03:30 PM
100%
0%

'WannaCry' Rapidly Moving Ransomware Attack Spreads to 74 Countries

A wave of ransomware infections took down a wide swath of UK hospitals and is rapidly moving across the globe.

The so-called Wanna Decryptor ransomware is currently moving like wildfire across 74 countries in more than 45,000 attacks, including a massive takedown of several UK hospitals today.

The number of infections across the world is quickly growing, according to Kaspersky's Twitter post. So far, some of the countries that have been hit include Britain, Spain, Russia, Taiwan, India, and the Ukraine, according to various reports streaming across the WannaCry Twitter feed.

Security experts say the ransomware attack is exploiting the Server Message Block (SMB) critical vulnerability that was patched by Microsoft on March 14, MS17-010. The 0day exploit, aka ETERNALBLUE, believed to be an NSA exploit tool, initially was leaked by Shadowbrokers, prompting a patch from Microsoft.

"There is nothing comparable to date. This is a massive global ransomware operation, the largest and most effective to date. Unfortunately, not all organizations patched against ETERNALBLUE/shadowbrokers exploits," said Kurt Baumgartner, principal security researcher, Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) for Kaspersky Lab.

According to an Avast blog post, Telefonica in Spain and the National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in England have been hit.

In the UK, a large scale attack hit a number of hospitals across the region, forcing medical staff to re-route emergency patients to other hospitals in the area, according to a report in The Guardian.

The malware struck NHS hospitals around lunch time, with an initial email going out to employees that the email servers were encountering difficulty, followed by clinical and patient systems going down, the Guardian reported. That was followed by a ransom note appearing on employees' computer screens, demanding $300 in Bitcoins to be paid in three days, otherwise the ransom would double. And if no payment was made after seven days, then the files would be forever lost, according to the report.

The NHS issued an alert and confirmed 16 medical centers had been hit, according to Kaspersky Lab.

This ransom message also appeared in Spain, where telecom giant Telefonica was also targeted, the Guardian noted.

"The suspected syndicated attack is unique in that it’s not targeted at any one industry or region, and is using a particularly nasty form of malware that can move through a corporate network from a single entry point," says Simon Crosby, co-founder and chief technology officer at Bromium.

"As usual, it’s leveraging a recently patched vulnerability that many have failed to implement in a timely matter," he says. "As long as the industry continues to play this never ending cat and mouse game of patchwork systems, sophisticated attackers will easily find ways to exploit the public in increasingly large scale attacks such as this."

How WannaCry Makes You Cry

The ETERNALBLUE exploit tool surfaced on the Internet via the Shadowbrokers' dump on April 14. Although Microsoft had issued the March patch, many organizations have not yet installed it, according to Kaspersky's blog post on WannaCry.

The security firm said WannaCry initiates through an SMBv2 remote code execution in Microsoft Windows and then encrypts data with a file extension ".WCRY." It then drops and executes a decryptor tool that was designed to hit users in multiple countries with a ransom note translated to the appropriate language for that country, according to Kaspersky Lab.   

Kaspersky's Baumgartner describes the attack this way: "It is a worm over SMB and the communications are over TOR, directly to hidden services, so I would not call it a peer-to-peer worm."

Researchers recommend installing Microsoft's patch, which closes the affected SMB Server vulnerability used in the WannaCry attack.

For organizations that have older equipment or legacy software, such as hospitals, manufacturing plants, and power plants, deploying a patch can be complicated and disruptive, which may in part explain how a wide swath of NHS hospitals fell victim to WannaCry.

Related Content:

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
NikNd
50%
50%
NikNd,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/12/2017 | 4:32:39 PM
WannaCry ransomware
Most infected computers are in Russia and it's a sign that WannaCry is a planned cyber-attack
against Russian organizations and institutions, including Ministry of Internal Affairs
of Russia and Investigative Committee of Russia as it's said there
https://malwareless.com/wannacry-ransomware-massively-attacks-computer-systems-world/.
Russian hackers never attacked computers inside their country with ransomware in order
to avoid further problems with police and FSB
MattP654
100%
0%
MattP654,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2017 | 5:32:57 AM
Re: WannaCry ransomware
According to the statistic the infected countries are increasing to over 99. This situation is deteriorating. We should be careful and update Windows Security. So that anyone can't interfare easily. Why not to udaptes Windows right now using a command line https://wuinstall.com/ so that the Admin can get the full access and Control the Windows Security.
mvalente
50%
50%
mvalente,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/12/2017 | 5:03:34 PM
Correction
Correction:

 

"Unfortunately, not all organizations patched against ETERNALBLUE/*NSA* exploits," "
inforobob
50%
50%
inforobob,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/15/2017 | 5:25:30 PM
Update
Hey Foks,

Time to update this article, eh?

Robert
Google Engineering Lead on Lessons Learned From Chrome's HTTPS Push
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/8/2018
White Hat to Black Hat: What Motivates the Switch to Cybercrime
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/8/2018
PGA of America Struck By Ransomware
Dark Reading Staff 8/9/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Now about that mortgage refinance offer from Wells Fargo .....
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-3937
PUBLISHED: 2018-08-14
An exploitable command injection vulnerability exists in the measurementBitrateExec functionality of Sony IPELA E Series Network Camera G5 firmware 1.87.00. A specially crafted GET request can cause arbitrary commands to be executed. An attacker can send an HTTP request to trigger this vulnerability...
CVE-2018-3938
PUBLISHED: 2018-08-14
An exploitable stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the 802dot1xclientcert.cgi functionality of Sony IPELA E Series Camera G5 firmware 1.87.00. A specially crafted POST can cause a stack-based buffer overflow, resulting in remote code execution. An attacker can send a malicious POST r...
CVE-2018-12537
PUBLISHED: 2018-08-14
In Eclipse Vert.x version 3.0 to 3.5.1, the HttpServer response headers and HttpClient request headers do not filter carriage return and line feed characters from the header value. This allow unfiltered values to inject a new header in the client request or server response.
CVE-2018-12539
PUBLISHED: 2018-08-14
In Eclipse OpenJ9 version 0.8, users other than the process owner may be able to use Java Attach API to connect to an Eclipse OpenJ9 or IBM JVM on the same machine and use Attach API operations, which includes the ability to execute untrusted native code. Attach API is enabled by default on Windows,...
CVE-2018-3615
PUBLISHED: 2018-08-14
Systems with microprocessors utilizing speculative execution and Intel software guard extensions (Intel SGX) may allow unauthorized disclosure of information residing in the L1 data cache from an enclave to an attacker with local user access via a side-channel analysis.