Global Telecom Companies on Guard After Malware Attack

In the aftermath of the deadly, global “Wannacry” ransomware cyber-attack over the weekend, mobile phone companies, tower operators, and network vendors are on high alert for any disruptions in operations, reported The Economic Times. The malware infected millions of computers in over 100 countries – including India, Russia, China, Germany, Spain and the UK, – affecting over 200,000 computers.

“We will get a decryption tool eventually, but for the moment, it’s still a live threat and we’re still in disaster recovery mode,” Europol director Rob Wainwright told CNN on Sunday.

This specific attack is labeled ransomware because once the malware infects a computer and encrypts a victim’s files, it demands a payment – upwards of several hundred dollars – to decrypt data and documents; to date, few people have paid the ransom. Also, once one machine is compromised, other computers on the same network can be infected within minutes if vulnerabilities exist in outdated versions of Microsoft Windows. This type of attack “was unheard of six months ago,” according to Israel Levy, the CEO of the cybersecurity firm Bufferzone.

Luckily, top telecom companies report that there was no immediate impact on infrastructure, according to The Economic Times. These telecom companies are taking steps to keep their country’s phone networks secure and put preventative measures in place to prevent malicious malware attacks in the future.

The global cyber-attack, using hacking tools reportedly developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, infected the UK’s healthcare system, global shipping company FedEx and car manufacturer Nissan. It also hit two big telecoms companies, Telefónica of Spain and Megafon of Russia, reported CNN. However, it’s unclear who is responsible for the attack.

May 16, 2017      

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