Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

FedEx Confirms Company was Hit by Malware Attack

Once inside an organization's network, the malware behind the attack spread rapidly using this vulnerability.

In the U.S., FedEx Corp. reported that its Windows computers were "experiencing interference" from malware, but wouldn't say if it had been hit by ransomware.

It gave no further details. Numerous machines attacked today have been breached simply because the latest Windows updates have not been applied quickly enough, but there are still organizations that continue to run Windows XP despite the risks.

Cybersecurity experts told ABC News that the unidentified attackers exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft software that was identified by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and leaked to the public by the hacker group The Shadow Brokers in April. It encrypts data on infected computers and demands payment before the information is unencrypted.

"This attack once again proves that ransomware is a powerful weapon that can be used against consumers and businesses alike", he said. The official was not authorized to be publicly named. "The NSA can have very smart people finding these vulnerabilities, but not very smart people can start using them to very devastating effect".

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Helsinki-based cybersecurity company F-Secure, called it "the biggest ransomware outbreak in history". Several cybersecurity firms said they had identified the malicious software behind the attack, which has apparently hit Russian Federation the hardest.

Researchers believe a criminal organization is behind this, given its sophistication. Initially, the ransom requested was reported to be $300 worth of Bitcoin, according to Kaspersky Lab.

Security experts said it appeared to be caused by a self-replicating piece of software that enters companies when employees click on email attachments, then spreads quickly as employees share documents.

Russia's Interior Ministry says it has come under cyberattack.

Ministry spokeswoman Irina Volk was quoted by the Interfax news agency Saturday as saying the problem had been "localized" and that no information was compromised. The committee denied the reports. Spanish telecom company Telefónica was also hit with the ransomware.

Cybersecurity firm Avast said it tracked more than 75,000 ransomware attacks in 99 countries on Friday.

Elsewhere in Europe, the attack hit Spain's Telefonica, a global broadband and telecommunications company, and knocked ticketing offline for Norway's IF Odd, a 132-year-old soccer club. The attacks use a malware called Wanna Decryptor, also known as WannaCry. Europol, the European Union's police agency, said the onslaught was at "an unprecedented level and will require a complex global investigation to identify the culprits".

The spokesman, Jan Op Gen Oorth, declined to give further details Friday so as not to jeopardize the ongoing investigations.

United Kingdom hospitals not the only ones impacted by ransomware attacks.

Portuguese children canonised by Pope
Some 500,000 faithful gathered in the town, north of Lisbon, for the ceremony, the Vatican said in a statement. Francisco died in 1919 and Jacinta died a year later, both of pneumonia when they were nine and ten years old.

The foreign ministry did not confirm whether it was the institution in question.

The majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan.

Who perpetrated this wave of attacks remains unknown.

If your computer has been affected, there's no guarantee that paying the ransom will restore it, Gazeley said. The committee, the nation's top investigative agency, has rejected the claim. But the NHS said Saturday it does not have any evidence that patient data was breached.

Many hospitals canceled all routine procedures and asked patients not to go to the hospital unless there was an emergency.

Similar widespread attacks have been reported in Spain and other countries. Train systems were hit in Germany and Russian Federation, and phone companies in Madrid and Moscow.

Although Microsoft released a security patch for the flaw earlier this year, many systems have yet to be updated, researchers said.

NHS Digital says the attack "was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organizations from across a range of sectors".

Grant Gowers, 50, from Clacton-on-Sea in southern England, told CNN how the ransomware attack had directly affected him.

Reports suggest that almost 100 countries, including India, were hit by the massive cyber attack.

Hospitals across England have canceled appointments and turned away patients after suffering an apparent cyberattack. But computers and networks that didn't update their systems remained at risk. Hospitals, with their often outdated IT systems and trove of confidential patient data, are a particularly tempting target.

Once infected, all of the files on the computer are encrypted by the malware, which then displays a ransom demand of between USA $300 and $600 in bitcoin that needs to be paid before the files can be decrypted.

Spain, meanwhile, took steps to protect critical infrastructure in response to the attack.

Hospitals, major companies and government offices were hit by a virus that seeks to seize control of computers until the victims pay a ransom.

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