A wave of cybercrime is currently overtaking the computers of many European hospitals and companies. The “ransomware” attack we’re seeing today locks up the files on computers and keeps them locked until the system administrator pays a ransom to regain control. So far, CNN reports, there have been at least 45,000 attacks in 74 countries over the last dozen hours or so, with Russia suffering the greatest number of incidents.
“Effected machines have six hours to pay up and every few hours the ransom goes up,” said Kurt Baumgartner, the principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “Most folks that have paid up appear to have paid the initial $300 in the first few hours.”
Politico is now reporting that the hacking tools used in the ransomware attacks might be traceable to the NSA:
In Spain, the country’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team said that the ransomware is a modified version of the WannaCryptor toolkit. The malware was included in an online April dump from a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which released what they said were NSA tools. Experts have said the leaked tools appear legitimate.
Extremely legitimate, considering it has resulted in hospitals refusing to admit new patients without serious ailments. Will update as new information becomes available.