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Cyber attack alert: Download security patch

  • Cyber attack alert: Download security patch – PSNI issue warning as Monday cyber attack fears grow across UK

    BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

    Police in Northern Ireland are working closely with government and tech agencies amid fresh warnings that the cyber attack that crippled international services are set to continue. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/cyber-attack-alert-download-security-patch-psni-issue-warning-as-monday-cyber-attack-fears-grow-across-uk-35713000.html

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/article35712644.ece/1faa8/AUTOCROP/h342/PANews%20BT_P-16bfdd3f-944c-4640-a6da-9b368278ce18_I1.jpg

  • Email1

Police in Northern Ireland are working closely with government and tech agencies amid fresh warnings that the cyber attack that crippled international services are set to continue. Europol has warned that the threat “will continue to grow” as people return to work on Monday . Since Friday’s breach more than 200,000 victims – including the NHS – across 150 countries have been infected by the Wanna Decryptor ransomware, also known as WannaCry.

The PSNI has said it has been liaising with relevant agencies “to ensure that here in Northern Ireland we are adequately briefed and prepared for the possibility of any potential similar incident.”

Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Grant said: “Since this attack occurred on Friday afternoon we have been working with representatives from the national government, National Crime Agency, National Cyber Security Centre and cyber security experts to put in place mechanisms to mitigate the risk to systems in Northern Ireland.

“As people return to work tomorrow after the weekend, many will have unopened, potentially infected emails in their inboxes, or their systems may already be infected and are waiting to activate . It is of the utmost importance that individuals and organisations act to ensure the integrity of our local cyber networks and take appropriate action to reduce the threat posed by cyber criminals.”

Read More: Five key questions about the NHS cyber hack answered 2

“While there is currently no suggestion that systems within Northern Ireland have been targeted, we remain conscious that we must act to ensure the integrity of cyber networks and take appropriate action to reduce the threat posed by cyber criminals.

“Do not open emails from unknown sources or containing suspicious links or attachments . Ensure that all computers on your network are fully updated with the latest ‘patches’ . A patch is a piece of software designed to update a computer program or its supporting data, to fix or improve it . This includes fixing security vulnerabilities.”

Speaking to ITV’s Peston on Sunday, Europol director Rob Wainwright said the attack was indiscriminate across the private and public sectors.

“At the moment we are in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up, I am worried about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn their machines on Monday morning.

“The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries . Many of those will be businesses including large corporations.”

Organisations across the globe, including investigators from the National Crime Agency (NCA), are now working non-stop to hunt down those responsible for the ransomware.

Meanwhile health authorities are racing to upgrade security software amid fears hackers could exploit the same vulnerability with a new virus. There have been calls for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Friday’s major incident, with the Government and NHS chiefs facing questions over their preparedness and the robustness of vital systems. Mr Wainwright explained: “We have been concerned for some time . The healthcare centres in many countries are particularly vulnerable . They are processing a lot of sensitive data.”

A British cyber whiz was hailed an “accidental hero” after he registered a domain name that unexpectedly stopped the spread of the virus, which exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software.

The anonymous specialist, known only as MalwareTech, prevented more than 100,000 computers across the globe from being infected. On Sunday MalwareTech issued a warning that hackers could upgrade the virus to remove the kill switch.

“Version 1 of WannaCrypt was stoppable but version 2.0 will likely remove the flaw . You’re only safe if you patch ASAP,” he wrote on Twitter.

A number of hospitals in England and Scotland were forced to cancel procedures after dozens of NHS systems were brought down in Friday’s attack. Medical staff reported seeing computers go down “one by one” as the attack took hold, locking machines and demanding money to release the data. Around a fifth of trusts were hit amid concerns networks were left vulnerable because they were still using outdated Windows XP software.

The apparent chink in the NHS’s defences led to criticism of the Government and NHS bosses, with the Liberal Democrats demanding an inquiry takes place. Speaking after a Cobra meeting on Saturday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted “there’s always more” that can be done to protect against viruses. She said: “If you look at who’s been impacted by this virus, it’s a huge variety across different industries and across international governments.

“This is a virus that attacked Windows platforms .

The fact is the NHS has fallen victim to this.

“I don’t think it’s to do with that preparedness . There’s always more we can all do to make sure we’re secure against viruses, but I think there have already been good preparations in place by the NHS to make sure they were ready for this sort of attack.”

Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, in a letter to Mr Hunt, said concerns were repeatedly flagged about outdated computer systems. Speaking to Robert Peston, he demanded that the Conservatives publish the Department of Health’s risk register to see how seriously they were taking IT threats.

Among those affected by the virus was Nissan UK, but the car manufacturer said there had been no major impact.

It is understood its plant in Sunderland is not due to have another production shift until Sunday night.

References

  1. ^ Email (www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
  2. ^ Five key questions about the NHS cyber hack answered (www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk)

Member of security watchdog OSCE killed in Ukraine

One member of European security watchdog OSCE’s monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine was killed and two others were injured after their vehicle drove over a mine near Luhansk.

An American man was killed and a German woman was injured on Sunday morning, a spokesman for Austria’s foreign ministry said . Austria holds the rotating presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Germany’s foreign ministry said two were injured, but gave no immediate details . The OSCE confirmed on Twitter that a patrol with six members and two armoured vehicles had been in a “serious incident” but gave no further information.

Three years after Moscow annexed the Crimean region, tensions between Ukraine and separatists in the Russian-held eastern part of the country remain high and a 2015 ceasefire agreement is violated regularly.

The Ukrainian military said the incident took place at 10:17 local time (0717 GMT) near the small village of Pryshyb, which is controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

The unarmed, civilian OSCE mission with more than 700 international observers was deployed in 2014 . The role of the monitors includes verifying the withdrawal of heavy weapons as agreed under the 2015 ceasefire agreement.

“It is a terrible tragedy,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement, calling for “an immediate end to the violence and unjustified accusations, especially on the part of separatists in eastern Ukraine.”

“It is in the interest of everyone involved, especially the conflict parties on the line of engagement, that OSCE observers are able to carry out their important, indispensable, and at once difficult and dangerous work,” Gabriel said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Twitter both called for an investigation of the incident . Kurz said he had spoken to the mission’s ambassador, Ertugrul Apakan.

“Need thorough investigation; those responsible will be held accountable,” Kurz said on Twitter.

A spokesman for the OSCE said further information would be released as it became available.

The 57 member states of the OSCE, which include Ukraine, Russia and the United States, in March extended its monitoring in Ukraine by a year.

Gabriel said the OSCE patrols had clearly prevented a more serious military escalation in recent years.

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi in Zurich, Francois Murphy in Vienna, Pavel Polityuk in Kiev and Andrea Shalal in Berlin; editing by Jason Neely)

International hackers targeted Foreign Office, cyber security experts reveal

An international hacking group targeted the Foreign Office in a campaign lasting several months, cyber security experts have revealed. The Callisto Group are highly motivated and well resourced and thought to be involved in intelligence gathering about foreign and security policy. Cyber security firm F-Secure claimed the group s infrastructure has links with Russia, China and Ukraine, but did not offer any definitive conclusions about who was behind Callisto. The Foreign Office (FCO) was one of the organisations targeted by Callisto in 2016, with other targets including military personnel, government officials, think tanks and journalists in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus. Erka Koivunen, chief information security officer at F-Secure said: We do not have enough data to determine what exactly the Callisto Group were doing with the FCO, or whether any activity concerning them was successfully executed. However, we do have indicators that the FCO were targeted by the Callisto Group.

International Hackers Targeted Foreign Office, Cyber Security Experts Reveal

The Government faces tens of thousands of cyber attacks every month and is aware of several established, capable state and state-sponsored groups seeking to penetrate UK networks. The active cyber defence (ACD) programme developed by the Government is aimed at blocking attacks before they reach their intended recipient. In a report on Callisto s activities, F-Secure said that in October 2015 the group used phishing techniques sending emails purporting to come from Google suggesting that their Gmail accounts were about to be closed to harvest security credentials. In early 2016 spear phishing emails with malicious attachments appearing to be from people known to the recipient were sent in highly targeted attacks aimed at government officials, military targets, think tanks and journalists.

The malware contained in the attacks would have enabled Callisto to gather basic information and screenshots but also install further software which could have given the group full remote access to the machine and its data. While the targeting would suggest that the main benefactor of the Callisto Group s activity is a nation state with specific interest in the Eastern Europe and South Caucasus regions, the link to infrastructure used for the sale of controlled substances hints at the involvement of a criminal element, the report said. One potential explanation was that Callisto is a cyber crime group with ties to a nation state, such as acting on behalf of or for the benefit of a government agency but it was not possible to make any definitive assertions , F-Secure concluded.

International Hackers Targeted Foreign Office, Cyber Security Experts RevealCyber security firm F-Secure claimed the Callisto Group s infrastructure has links with Russia, China and Ukraine (PA) A National Cyber Security Centre spokesman said: The first duty of Government is to safeguard the nation and as the technical authority on cyber security, the NCSC is delivering ground breaking innovations to make the UK the toughest online target in the world. Emails are the main path for most attacks and usually rely on an abuse of trust by spoofing well-known brands .

The Government s ACD programme is developing services to block, prevent and neutralise attacks before they reach inboxes.

These measures are being trialled on government systems to prove effectiveness before we ask industry to implement them.