Reports that the national organization which elects Republican congressional candidates was the ‘victim of a cyber intrusion’ were confirmed. The intrusion took place during the midterm campaign season this year. The cyber attack was performed by an ‘unknown entity.’ The National Republican Campaign Committee said the FBI is now investigating the intrusion.
The US charged two Iranians in a hacking attack which lasted for 34 months. The perpetrators earned millions of dollars by using software that locks files and systems and requires a fee to unlock them. The perpetrators are out of US law enforcement’s reach but the FBI said ‘they can be apprehended if they travel.’
Hudson’s Bay Co., the parent company of Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off Fifth, and Lord & Taylor announced a data breach has compromised customers’ personal information. A known group of cybercriminals obtained the credit and debit card numbers of more than five million customers. The data was stolen using software installed in-store cash registers.
Hackers have gained control of computer servers belonging to the PGA and have demanded a bitcoin ransom, with no amount specified, from the golf association in exchange for returned control. Officials were locked out of critical files related to this week’s PGA Championship. The PGA of America declined to comment, saying it was an ongoing investigation.
It has been learned that Israeli government hackers discovered Russian possession of US National Security Agency hacking tools in 2015, and notified the NSA. This prompted a search which focused on global antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab. Just last month the Department of Homeland Security ordered the removal of Kaspersky software from government computers.
On Friday computer networks of over 150 countries were targeted in a ransomware cyber attack called “WannaCry” that prevents access to data and systems. The attack is considered one of the biggest cybersecurity attacks in the recent history. The main victim, Britain’s healthcare system saw 48 of 248 NHS organizations disrupted by it, “the biggest ransomware attack ever.” The attack caused operations to be canceled and caused widespread disruptions in medical procedures. Many are getting notices to pay a ransom for a decryption key or risk having their files erased. A number of Chinese universities have also been under attack, leaving many unable to access their university theses.
The former secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson testifying before the House Intelligence Committee said on Wednesday that under direct orders from the Russian President Vladimir Putin, hackers tried to hack election-related computers in 21 states. He also noted that the Obama administration was aware of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign but was afraid that acknowledging it would reveal too much about intelligence gathering.
The worldwide ransomware computer worm, WannaCry, which spread earlier this week affecting thousands of Microsoft Windows based computers was apparently stolen from the NSA. The NSA who had been using the exploit “EternalBlue” had their worst fears confronted when they came to realize that the WannaCry root code was apparently stolen from the NSA, repackaged, and globally distributed by cyber criminals. The NSA’s failure to protect such potent hacking tools has come into light with critics asking whether they can be trusted with such a dangerous tool. North Korea is still the prime suspect in the WannaCry attacks.
Researchers of cyber security have found data that may connect North Korea with the recent WannaCry ransomware attacks. Since Friday, the attack has infected over 300,000 computers in over 150 countries. Businesses and the government have been widely affected as well as people’s personal computers. The spread of the virus has slightly slowed as antivirus software has been distributed.
Another wave of powerful cyberattack hit computer systems in Europe, US and Australia yesterday. The virus is said to be linked to a malware called Petwrap or Petya, based on an ‘exploit’ developed by the National Security Agency and later went into the wild through hackers. Among the affected were Rosneft, the Russian oil giant, Merck, the US pharmaceutical company, Maersk, the Danish shipping conglomerate, Ukrainian government ministries, Cadbury chocolate plant in Australia and also the systems at the site of the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Although Microsoft has made available a patch for the Windows flaw that last month’s WannaCry attack exploited, the current one is said to use other techniques to infect Systems.