North Korea thought to be behind worldwide cyber attack on Windows PCs

“A hacking group linked to North Korea is thought to be behind the cyber attack that wreaked havoc across the globe, according to security experts,” Scott Campbell reports for The Daily Mail. “Analysts from security firms Symantec and Kaspersky revealed that they are looking into technical clues suggesting the Lazarus Group created the virus.”

“The ransomware – which encrypts victims’ files then demands a fee to unlock them – left Britain’s health service crippled as computer systems and phone lines across the country shut down on Friday,” Campbell reports. “The ransomware – which encrypts victims’ files then demands a fee to unlock them – left Britain’s health service crippled as computer systems and phone lines across the country shut down on Friday. The NHS is still struggling to get back on its feet following the attack, which means patients could have to wait a month or more to see a doctor after countless operations and appointments were cancelled… Meanwhile Russia was believed to be the worst affected country with computers in its interior ministry hit and its second largest phone network – Megafon – also targeted.”

Campbell reports, “The revelations come just one day after Kim Jong-Un fired a ballistic missile 500 miles into the Sea of Japan in the latest show of force amid tensions with the US.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Three points:

1. Macintosh unaffected.

2. Britain’s NHS needs to upgrade yesterday… Make that “at least half a decade before yesterday.” Or, at the very least, pay Microsoft’s ransom first so you can patch those crappy, old Windows PCs already!

3.

SEE ALSO:
Tim Cook’s refusal to create iPhone backdoor for FBI vindicated by ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack on Windows PCs – May 15, 2017
The Microsoft Tax: Rapidly replicating Windows PC worm spreads as experts try to limit damage; Macintosh unaffected – May 15, 2017
The Microsoft Tax: Leaked NSA malware hijacks Windows PCs worldwide; Macintosh unaffected – May 13, 2017

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

42 Comments

  1. If true, way to go N.Korea to piss off one of your only allies. China not only took a major hit but also has the highest percentage of ‘illegal’ copies of Windows that don’t have access to MS patches.

    1. Sorry to say it but essentially It is the Chinese way to copy and steal. So if China is seeing a disproportionate number of ransomware attacks, boo hoo. Thieves of Microsoft software are now sleeping in the bed they made.

      Reality is Microsoft has made great strides in usability stability & security. they cannot be held responsible for the safety of old stolen software and shitty practices of dumb or thieving users. The patches are all there, if people would buy current software and keep it updated legally.

        1. I understand where you’re coming from there, but you have it so wrong.

          Windows is horrible. Microsoft equally so. But Hawaii Blue is right – pirated software users get what they deserve. It is a way of life over there, and it is horribly wrong. I give Microsoft the pass on this one.

    1. You seem to like authoritarian one party rule when the guy at the top wears your team colors.

      Enlighten us: how does Trumpcare increase competition or lower prices? All it does is allow insurance companies to drop coverage or jack up prices on people with pre existing conditions. Which means your taxes will cover 20 million people seeking their healthcare in emergency rooms.

      What a huge improvement.

      1. ObamaCare is bad, but TrumpCare is all “repeal” with no “replace.”

        According to most observers (including the American Enterprise Institute and the American Medical Association, neither of which is remotely liberal), TrumpCare is no more than a massive wealth transfer scheme.

        It cuts taxes by $800B, almost entirely benefiting American families with an annual income over $200,000.

        It cuts benefits by $600B, almost entirely at the expense of American families with an annual income under $50,000. The cuts will be borne disproportionately by women and older Americans.

        It increases the deficit by $200B.

    2. Other than my personal opinion that you are an uninformed asshole who constantly spouts Republican talking points, let someone who actually works in healthcare tell you a few ugly truths about US Healthcare- the most privatized in the world.

      1 We spend more money treating disease, sickness and injury than any other country on earth, per capita.
      2 We do not get our money’s worth, with outcomes far worse than any other OECD nation.
      3 The most cost efficient insurance in these United States is Medicare- a public system with claims processing done by private insurers. Better than 96 cents of every Dollar is used to pay for health care services. No private insurer even comes close.
      4 In countries with universal health coverage patients can go to the Doctor of their choosing, unlike US PPO and HMO coverage where you might search very hard to find an in-network Doctor that may or may not be close to where you need care. They also do not have to worry that getting sick will bankrupt them.

      If the so-called free market worked as Republicans advertised we would have the best, lowest cost and most efficient health care and health insurance system in the world. The dirty little secret is American Health Insurance is a cartel and essentially a monopoly in all but the most heavily populated and affluent areas.

      The same is true for the internet. Very little regulation, but we pay the highest price for broadband in the OECD as it is essentially a cartel of companies who do not compete directly with each other except in the most populous and affluent markets. Otherwise, the free market is not very efficient in health insurance, healthcare or ISP services.

      1. In his last few years of life, my father-in-law had a heart condition that required the following care:

        •Every morning, a healthcare worker came to his home and made sure he got up, took his medications, and ate breakfast.

        •Around noon every day, another worker came by to cook him a hot dinner and check on his general condition.

        •Every night, still another worker made sure he was safely in bed and had taken his evening pills.

        •Once a week, a nurse practitioner came by to give him a complete examination.

        •Once a month, his personal physician made a house call to examine him in greater depth.

        •Did I mention that all of his medications were delivered directly to his home?

        •If he required hospitalization, he was transported 20 miles by ambulance to the teaching hospital associated with one of the world’s greatest universities and received excellent care for up to months at a time.

        •His out-of-pocket expense for all of the above (including the doctors, carers, medications, and hospital stays) was about $20 per week.

        •The only thing he lacked was the ability to visit his daughter in the United States, where the cost of health care would have killed him.

        My father-in-law was lucky enough to live in England, where life expectancy is #33 of 215 countries in the world, and not in the United States, which is #44. Infant mortality in the UK is 4.2 per 1000 live births, versus 6.5 in the U.S.

        Despite those statistics, Trump wants to cut access to affordable health care. That really IS a killer.

    1. I’m with you. The Last I heard North Korea is an island in the world with very little technology, no access to computers other than what they can steal or black market up, or make themselves.

      Furthermore, everything they do there has to be approved by a dictator. Did he really authorize highjacking people’s computers for $500 a pop?

      Come on. Have some common sense. Stop believing the media propaganda machines. All of them.

      What is pathetic is you watch your liars and I watch my liars and then we both argue about the truth, and in the end the only truth is my liars are better than your liars.

      1. “What is pathetic is you watch your liars and I watch my liars and then we both argue about the truth, and in the end the only truth is my liars are better than your liars.”

        Love this. Think I’m going to need to steal this for later use. So true.

  2. Dumbest thing I’ve ever read. Amazing how easily uninformed “reporting” is regurgitated.
    .It’s about a security flaw that was outlined a while ago on an unsupported Windows xp that no one should have ever been running in the first place. Let’s remember, there are people paid day-in day-out to find exploits. It’s up to folks to follow basic security protocols.

    I mean this site is run by a half wit right-winger, so it’s par for the course here, but still a little bit of self restraint on the stupid would go a long way

      1. Oh don’t say that the site will be inundated with even more trolling Windows acolytes blaming everyone but their Masters in Redmond who as we know can do no wrong and have no responsibility whatsoever for leaky security used as a business model.

  3. “Britain’s NHS needs to upgrade yesterday… ”

    Not all of Britain. Britain consists of several countries and some of them have responsibility for their own spending. The NHS in Wales has been unaffected by this because the Welsh government is not controlled by the Conservative party and had spent the money to update and upgrade their computer systems.

    The Conservative government decided to stop paying Microsoft to support Windows XP in 2015. The NHS has long been a target for malware. Between 2015 and 2016, 88 of the 260 NHS trusts ( regional groups of health facilities ) had been hit by ransomware, with some suffering about 20 attacks and others being very badly affected by them, but the politicians did not agree to provide sufficient funds to deal with it. There have been multiple warnings that such an attack was likely and there have been many incidents since the maintenance payments were stopped, but in the UK we have a government which chooses to disregard experts if their advice is felt to be inconvenient.

  4. If this isn’t the biggest wake-up call, I don’t know what is. You wouldn’t think there’d be an easily found path between so many disparate networks. Unfortunately, government agencies will not see this as an opportunity to make things more secure, GOVERNMENT agencies will seize this as an opportunity to secure more control over the Internet. That’s the way governments work.

    Will our own government accept its responsibility in this fiasco with the NSA sheltering known major exploits? No. They will find a way to exact punitive measures against you and I. Mark my words.

    Not only is the NSA responsible, but supposedly there are traces of the nation-state (Read US+Israel) designed Stuxnet found in this thing.

    I still have found no good information on how it was introduced into “patient-zero.”

    In sticking with the biological “virus” metaphor, (it employs both the methods of a virus and a worm), it would seem to make a logical argument for techno-diversity in computing platforms. I used to make this argument long ago when trying to convince businesses to go Macintosh.

    With so much of the world reliant on Windows we are far more vulnerable than if people chose diverse platforms. Microsoft would argue that no, diversity in platforms would lead to interoperability problems. Perhaps but interoperability problems can be solved without introducing the inherent flaw in sameness.

    I finally just found a site with code to read.

    Does this piss anyone off like it does me? Building shit is hard. Extremely hard. That’s what smart people do. They build shit. They make things. They create things.

    Tearing shit apart is easy. You just find a flaw in what the smart person built and knock it down and proclaim yourself to be smarter.

    I remember when the news media kept complimenting the 9/11 terrorist on being so clever with their planning and execution. I kept thinking no, the people who built and designed those planes were hyper-intelligent and clever. The architects of the World Trade Center were brilliant people. The chimpanzees who destroyed it all and killed so many people?

    Morons at best.

    It’s time to stop complimenting these people and start making them social pariahs as they should be.

    1. Something I can totally agree with you on. Personally I cant wait for the world of self driving cars we are promised. Either it will be the culmination of efforts towards almost unbreakable software security (some chance) or the mother of all software exploitation and extortion attempts. Get ready for the roller coaster.

    2. I am a weekender and in Radiology we do everything on computers. Not one of our Windows systems was impacted and many were from the same vendors that supply Hospitals and Radiology Departments worldwide. There is no excuse except Tory (Conservative Party) cost cutting at NHS to explain how hard they were hit.

      Our Vendors who still use systems running on Windows 7 and 8 patched the systems months ago – just like Apple did with Mac OS after the NSA Zero Days were uncovered. I am no fan of Microsoft, but anyone using EOL software or who failed to apply a supplied patch was asking for it.

      What you do not see emphasized in any general press (as opposed to tech sites) is that systems running Mac OS, UNIX, LINUX, Android and iOS were not impacted unless they were dependent upon a Windows server that was hit. This is a prime example of why we need heterogeneous hardware and software on critical systems instead of the homogenous setups so many in IT want. the varied systems give some level of resilience against stuff like this.

      Finally, many Medical devices that run older versions of Windows or LINUS do so because vendors do not want to re-certify equipment with the FDA so they can change the underlying OS. Upgrading the OS (not point upgrades but major jumps like XP to 7) on a medical device without re-certification exposes one to lawsuit and regulatory sanctions and fines. The requirement is stupid and needs to be reformed.

      1. I have a question and maybe you know the answer… is it common for diagnostic machines to be kept on an air gapped network to help prevent this stuff from happening?

  5. As far as North Korea is concerned, can we not just start dropping food, medicine, water, and clothing on these people with promises of more if they stand up to monster socialists?

    And CDs filled with information about the outside world.

    1. Yeah, like that’s really worked before. Apparently no one in that country has the balls to jam a pencil in that little toads ear and end his reign, but even if they did some other clown would probably step into his shoes. The world needs a consensus to simply nuke that country into oblivion.

  6. Actually it would be good, if it was NK that did this. They are an excellent bucket to dump all the world’s suffering. Right now they are good to hate, for US, Russia, China, Japan, anyone who pisses them off, if you even look at them sideways.

  7. Kim Jong-un might be bad news but there’s always worse so better the devil you know because he might be replaced by someone much, much worse.

    The thing to understand about the North Korean political and military establishment is that their one nightmare is for the government to be overthrown (virtually impossible), being economically crushed or being invaded by another country.

    If you threaten North Korea it feeds into the above. If you call on an ally to economically crush them it feeds into above as well.

    You can’t negotiate with them unless you can build up a level of trust. I’m not for one moment saying that’s easy or even possible but threatening the North Koreans doesn’t achieve anything.

    As for the North Koreans possessing an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the mainland US or Australia then I have to say “so what”! Possessing and using are two different things.

    Do you think they’d be stupid enough to use it? Do you actually think they’re not aware of the military consequences. Nuclear weapons for the the North Korean regime is like a security blanket and they know that while they possess a nuclear arsenal they won’t be invaded and the regime will survive.

    As for computer attacks from North Koreans hackers again I say “so what”. Most countries spy on each other and numerous countries hack into each other. Now let me see could I add to the list of governmental hackers who do so for intelligence commercial or for military reasons. Here’s list that comes to mind:

    China, Australia, Indonesia, Russia, Israel, the USA, Iran, Britain, India, North and South Korea, Japan, Ukraine etc.

    So the only thing that I’m really thankful for is that I use Macs and iOS devices. I don’t click on anything suspicious, I use a virus protector and have a copy of Malwarebytes.

    Maybe this latest attack might just get systems administrators to update their operating systems or use a more secure operating system (like a Mac), but then again, I doubt it.

  8. Maybe Saddam arose from the grave and did it.

    He’s still pissed at the NeoCons and NeoConned accusing him of 9-11. Dubya’s Iraqi WMDs have an empty display case at the Bush museum and car wash in Texas.

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