As if this week could not get any more strange from a news standpoint, along comes this story about a giant ransomware attack that is reeking havoc on nations around the world using a tool developed by the N.S.A. Here are some particulars from a New York Times article by Dan Bilefsky and Nicole Perlroth:
An extensive cyberattack struck computers across a wide swath of Europe and Asia on Friday, and strained the public health system in Britain, where doctors were blocked from patient files and emergency rooms were forced to divert patients.
The attack involved ransomware, a kind of malware that encrypts data and locks out the user. According to security experts, it exploited a vulnerability that was discovered and developed by the National Security Agency.
The hacking tool was leaked by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which has been dumping stolen N.S.A. hacking tools online beginning last year. Microsoft rolled out a patch for the vulnerability last March, but hackers took advantage of the fact that vulnerable targets — particularly hospitals — had yet to update their systems.
Happy Friday everybody, don't forget to make sure your passwords and OS level security software are up to date.