A cyberattack the world isn’t ready for

Nicole Perlroth, New York Times:

The strike on IDT, a conglomerate with headquarters in a nondescript gray building here with views of the Manhattan skyline 15 miles away, was similar to WannaCry in one way: Hackers locked up IDT data and demanded a ransom to unlock it.

The Wanna Cry attack made huge headlines. The IDT attack did not.

But the ransom demand was just a smoke screen for a far more invasive attack that stole employee credentials. With those credentials in hand, hackers could have run free through the company’s computer network, taking confidential information or destroying machines.

This is a huge issue. The premise is, there are many of these attacks and they are almost all undiscovered, allowing the attacker to build up a treasure trove of employee credentials. The attack was allegedly carried out using cyberweapons stolen from the NSA.

Scans for the two hacking tools used against IDT indicate that the company is not alone. In fact, tens of thousands of computer systems all over the world have been “backdoored” by the same N.S.A. weapons. Mr. Ben-Oni and other security researchers worry that many of those other infected computers are connected to transportation networks, hospitals, water treatment plants and other utilities.

Lots more to this story, including one person’s quest to hunt down the perpetrator. Terrific read.

More evidence in favor of Apple’s commitment to not adding a back door to modern versions of iOS, as well as a firm argument for Apple’s approach to OS distribution. A major part of the problem is the flood of old, unpatched flavors of Windows and Android out in the wild.

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