By AFP – May 13,2017 – JORDAN TIMES
In this posed photo, a woman points to the website of the NHS: East and North Hertfordshire notifying users of a problem in its network, in London, on Friday (AFP photo)
LONDON — Cyber security experts rushed to restore systems on Saturday after an unprecedented global wave of cyberattacks that struck targets ranging from Russia’s banks to British hospitals and a French carmaker’s factories.
The hunt was on for the culprits behind the assault, which was being described as the biggest cyber ransom attack ever.
State agencies and major companies around the world were left reeling by the attacks which blocked access to files and demanded ransom money, forcing them to shut down their computer systems.
“The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex international investigation to identify the culprits,” said Europol, Europe’s policing agency.
The attacks, which experts said affected dozens of countries, used a technique known as ransomware that locks users’ files unless they pay the attackers a designated sum in the virtual Bitcoin currency.
Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cyber security company F-Secure, told AFP that the attack was “the biggest ransomware outbreak in history”, saying that 130,000 systems in more than 100 countries had been affected.
He said that Russia and India were hit particularly hard, in large part because the older Windows XP operating software is still widely used in the countries.
The attacks apparently exploited a flaw exposed in documents leaked from the US National Security Agency (NSA).
The attacks hit a whole range of organisations and businesses worldwide.