Russia Hit Hard in Global Ransomware Attack

The White House and federal cybersecurity officials scrambled over the weekend to grapple with a “ransomware” cyberattack that hit 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, according to the European police agency Europol. But while a few U.S. institutions are known to have been affected by the malware, believed to have exploited stolen NSA cyber tools, most of the damage has been reported in Europe and Asia, including freezing up many British National Health Service hospital systems. The biggest victim, however, was Russia, according to the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. And Russian officials are pretty upset.

“Humanity is dealing here with cyberterrorism,” Frants Klintsevich, a top official on the Russian Senate’s defense committee, told Russia’s state-run Tass news agency. “It’s an alarming signal, and not just a signal but a direct threat to the normal functioning of society, and important life-support systems.” The goal of the attack, which freezes hard drives and servers until a ransom is paid, was possibly “frightening the whole world,” he added. “The attacks hit hospitals, railroad transport, and police.” Older and unlicensed versions of the Windows operating system were particularly vulnerable to the attack.

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