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UK National Cyber Security Centre says it is ‘aware of global ransomware incident’

The UK s National Cyber Security Centre says it is aware of a cyber attack spreading around the world amid fears of disruption to infrastructure including banking and transport.

We re aware of the global ransomware incident and are monitoring the situation closely, a spokesperson told The Independent, advising members of the public and businesses to check its website for guidance on keeping their systems secure. British advertising firm WPP said IT systems in several of its companies were affected by the attack, as Maersk employees were sent home from its offices in Berkshire.

The first reports came from Ukraine1, where state infrastructure including government-owned banks, energy firms, transportation and ministers computers were hit by the ransomware. Russian oil giant Rosneft, the world s largest shipping company Maersk and firms in India and Norway were among those affected.

Infected computers display a message demanding a payment of $300 ( 235) in Bitcoin to re-gain access to encrypted files. The Swiss government s Reporting and Analysis Centre said the Petya virus 2was believed to be responsible and was spreading by exploiting the SMB (Server Message Block) vulnerability . A message demanding money is seen on a monitor of a payment terminal at a branch of Ukraine’s state-owned bank Oschadbank after a wave of cyber attacks, in Kiev, Ukraine, June 27, 2017. (Reuters)

Petya was previously blamed for disrupting systems in 2016 and works similarly to the WannaCry ransomware that infected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries last month.

Maersk said its IT systems were down across multiple sites and businesses due to a cyber attack that could affect its global operations. Employees at Maersk s main UK office in Maidenhead said all staff had been locked out of their computers and sent home for the day. The Danish business congolmerate is the largest container shipping company in the world and also operates in the oil and gas sectors.

Seventeen shipping container terminals run by Maersk subsidiary APM Terminals have also been hacked, including two in Rotterdam and 15 in other parts of the world, according to Dutch television. Norway s national security agency said the ransomware was affecting an unnamed international company in the country. Rosneft, a Russian government-owned oil firm, said it was also targeted by a massive hacker attack on its servers, as was steel maker Evraz.

Ukraine s national bank, state power company and largest airport were among the targets first reported targets on Tuesday. The website of Boryspil International Airport during a cyber attack targeting Ukrainian infrastructure on 27 June 2017

Rozenko Pavlo, the deputy Prime Minister, said he and other members of the government were unable to access their computers. Ukrainian state-run aircraft manufacturer Antonov was among the companies hit, along with state power distributor Ukrenergo, which said the attack did not affect power supplies.

The National Bank of Ukraine said an unknown virus was to blame, saying several unnamed Ukrainian banks were affected along with financial firms.

As a result of cyber attacks, these banks have difficulties with customer service and banking operations, a statement said.

The National Bank bank is confident that the banking infrastructure’s defence against cyber fraud is properly set up and attempted cyber attacks on banks’ IT systems will be neutralised. Computers and departure boards for Boryspil International Airport in Kiev the largest in Ukraine were also down. The Ukrposhta state postal service, television stations and transport were affected by the attack, which left Kiev metro passengers unable to pay using bank cards.

Many ATMs were disabled, displaying the message left by hackers, as were tills in supermarkets. Emails hit as Parliament targeted by cyber security attack

Ukraine has blamed Russia for repeated cyber attacks targeting crucial infrastructure during the past three years, including one on its power grid that left part of western Ukraine temporarily without electricity in December 2015. Russia has denied involvement and the orchestrators of Tuesday s attack were not known, although onlookers estimated they could make billions of dollars from the hack.

The UK s Houses of Parliament were targeted in a separate attack 3on Friday that compromised up to 90 accounts as part of efforts to access the accounts of MPs, peers and their staff by searching for weak passwords.

The growth of global cyber attacks, including those targeting the election campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Emmanuel Macron, have sparked warnings of a permanent war online.4

Guillaume Poupard, director general of the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI) said intensifying attacks were coming from unspecified states, as well as criminal and extremist groups.

We must work collectively, not just with two or three Western countries, but on a global scale, he added, saying attacks could aim at espionage, fraud, sabotage or destruction.

We are getting closer, clearly, to a state of war – a state of war that could be more complicated, probably, than those we’ve known until now.

UK National Cyber Security Centre Says It Is 'aware Of Global Ransomware Incident'Reuse content5

References

  1. ^ The first reports came from Ukraine (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Petya virus (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ Houses of Parliament were targeted in a separate attack (www.independent.co.uk)
  4. ^ sparked warnings of a permanent war online. (www.independent.co.uk)
  5. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Microsoft: We’ll beef up security in Windows 10 Creators Edition Fall Update

The next big update to Windows 10 Creators Edition is out in the Fall1 and Redmond is hyping up its security chops. For a start, we’re told Windows Defender will be extended from client to Microsoft’s server operating systems . In addition, Redmond is adding Windows Defender Exploit Guard and Application Guard to the security suite and updating its Device Guard and Defender Antivirus software. Exploit Guard is basically Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) security software reworked for the new operating system . Last year Microsoft was forecasting the death of EMET, but now it appears it has listened to advice from its users2 and security experts3 that the code should be retained.

“We love EMET so much we built it fully into Windows 10,” Rob Lefferts, director of the Windows and Devices Group, told The Register. “Everything you could do with EMET you can do with Exploit Guard.”

Exploit Guard will come with new rules designed to detect unauthorized system access, and will take advice from Microsoft’s security center in real time . Redmond even says it will protect against zero day exploits. Application Guard is designed to work with the browser to detect whether local users have downloaded or installed code that they shouldn’t . The new code will lock any infection onto a local machine to stop it spreading, and notify the security team that something has gone seriously amiss.

Device Guard is getting an upgrade and uses whitelisting to keep dodgy software off PCs . Lefferts said that Microsoft is working with developers to constantly update the whitelists and ensure that legitimate code will run without a problem. On the pure antivirus side, IT admins running Defender will get a new security analytics screen that will use data from all Microsoft customers to advise on potential or incoming threats . APIs will also be released so third-party app vendors can use the same information to secure their apps.

Sponsored: Advanced Threat Prevention .

Visit The Register’s Endpoint Security Hub4

References

  1. ^ in the Fall (www.theregister.co.uk)
  2. ^ its users (www.theregister.co.uk)
  3. ^ security experts (www.theregister.co.uk)
  4. ^ Advanced Threat Prevention .

    Visit The Register’s Endpoint Security Hub (go.theregister.com)

Microsoft: We’ll beef up security, admin tools in Windows 10 Creators Edition Fall Update

The next big update to Windows 10 Creators Edition is out in the Fall1 and Redmond is hyping up its security chops and admin tools. For a start, we’re told Windows Defender will be extended from client to Microsoft’s server operating systems . In addition, Redmond is adding Windows Defender Exploit Guard and Application Guard to the security suite and updating its Device Guard and Defender Antivirus software. Exploit Guard is basically Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) security software reworked for the new operating system . Last year Microsoft was forecasting the death of EMET, but now it appears it has listened to advice from its users2 and security experts3 that the code should be retained.

“We love EMET so much we built it fully into Windows 10,” Rob Lefferts, director of the Windows and Devices Group, told The Register. “Everything you could do with EMET you can do with Exploit Guard.”

Exploit Guard will come with new rules designed to detect unauthorized system access, and will take advice from Microsoft’s security center in real time . Redmond even says it will protect against zero day exploits. Application Guard is designed to work with the browser to detect whether local users have downloaded or installed code that they shouldn’t . The new code will lock any infection onto a local machine to stop it spreading, and notify the security team that something has gone seriously amiss.

Device Guard is getting an upgrade and uses whitelisting to keep dodgy software off PCs . Lefferts said that Microsoft is working with developers to constantly update the whitelists and ensure that legitimate code will run without a problem. On the pure antivirus side, IT admins running Defender will get a new security analytics screen that will use data from all Microsoft customers to advise on potential or incoming threats . APIs will also be released so third-party app vendors can use the same information to secure their apps.

Autopilot for Admins

Also new in the update is a suite called Windows Autopilot, which is a set of custom tools for IT admins designed to make their lives easier. In addition to the new security features, Microsoft is augmenting the Autopilot computer setup program that works with Azure and Intune to configure enterprise PC farms . A new Autopilot Reset function lets admins wipe a PC for example if someone leaves the company without wiping out all the settings, just the non-essential local content. Redmond will also begin putting out updates for its mobile device management suite to allow better integration with Windows 10 . The tools will now give regular update progress reports to IT controllers and will add support for Active Directory domain-joined devices .

There’s also support for configuring and locking down kiosks running Windows. A new update to the Windows Analytics package include a category known as Device Health . This scans the PCs on a network, noting bad configurations or missing updates and alerting staff.

Sponsored: How Artificial Intelligence Will Secure the 21st Century4

References

  1. ^ in the Fall (www.theregister.co.uk)
  2. ^ its users (www.theregister.co.uk)
  3. ^ security experts (www.theregister.co.uk)
  4. ^ How Artificial Intelligence Will Secure the 21st Century (go.theregister.com)