Monday 15 May 2017

Vladimir Putin Says Russia Had "Nothing To Do" With Cyber Attacks And Blamed The US

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin has said Russia had "nothing to do" with the global cyber attacks that swept through NHS computers on Friday.

The Russian President denied the country's involvement in the hack and instead blamed the US for the breach.

Speaking in Beijing, where he is taking part in a conference, Putin specifically blamed intelligence agencies, and suggested they had created the "malware" that is so dangerous in the first place.

He said: "Malware created by intelligence agencies can backfire on its creators."

Putin added that Russian organisations had been affected, but that "there was no significant damage"

It is believed that Putin was referring to reports that the hacking tool was originally developed by US intelligence agency the National Security Agency, before it was stolen by hackers.

According to Russian internet security firm Kaspersky, WannaCry attacks were discovered in 74 countries, with 45,000 cases being reported in just one day.

The largest number of attacks occurred in Russia, but the firm claims Ukraine, India and Taiwan "have suffered much damage."

Cyber attacks like the one that struck the NHS have plunged the world into a “new age of warfare”.

Hackers could shut down banks and cut off power and water supplies in the biggest threat to civillisation since the Second World War , experts claimed.

The warning came as a second massive wave of attacks was expected today as staff log back on to work systems.

Some machines may still not be protected from the ransomware called Wannacry that hit last Friday, the National Cyber Security Centre said.

Europol chief Rob Wainwright said it was combined with a worm application allowing the “infection of one computer to quickly spread across the networks”.

He added: “The global reach is unprecedented. We are in the face of an escalating threat.

"I’m worried about how the numbers will grow when people turn their machines on Monday morning.”

An anonymous 22-year-old British IT expert who stopped the virus over the weekend warned it was just a temporary halt and the hackers could start again “quite likely on Monday morning”.

Another expert said the world faces an even bigger attack for which it is “drastically unprepared”.

Cyber security expert Tony McDowell said: “Computer hacking is the greatest threat to civilisation since the Second World War.

“In future we could face a total blackout of all systems and be at the mercy of whoever was behind the threat. We’re in a new age of warfare.

“The NHS cyber attack was most probably caused by amateur hackers.

"If a sophisticated state-sponsored attack was executed our power stations, water supplies and banking systems could be completely shut down within hours.”

Insurer Hiscox said less than half UK firms are prepared for cyber attacks.

Cybercrime cost the global economy £350billion last year and could rise to £1.5trillion by 2019. Fraud and cybercrime cost the UK £11billionn in 2015-16, said ActionFraud.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said £50million of £1.9billion set aside for UK cyber protection goes on NHS systems.

He was forced to say he has “complete confidence” in the safety of nuclear systems but did not deny some computers may run on the Windows XP system exploited in the attack. Insiders say older Ministry of Defence machines could be at risk.

The NCSC advised users to run Windows updates and to have an updated antivirus on machines.

Microsoft issued patches for unsupported operating systems such as XP. Over 200,000 devices in at least 150 countries were shut down on Friday.

Scotland Yard

NHS sources said its £5million deal with Microsoft to maintain XP security had been allowed to end in 2015.

The Department of Health instead focused on cutting the number of machines still using it.

But sources say some hospital trusts still use the even older Windows 7, not updated in over 10 years.



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