Is the US to blame for the global cyber-attacks that hit 150 countries last Friday? Vladimir Putin says this is indeed so, blaming US intelligence agencies for the attack that infected an estimated 200,000 devices with malware. Putin also defends Russia, saying it had “nothing to do” with the attack.
The hackers’ identities are still unknown but the Russian President has pointed the finger at the US, noting the fact the NSA originally created this malware as a hacking tool. The string of attacks exploited a flaw in Microsoft Windows which was stolen from the NSA and leaked earlier this year.
The cyber-attack has caused global chaos, particularly in Britain’s NHS hospitals. To further recap these events, hackers were able to infiltrate computer systems through a technique called “phishing”, sending spam emails that contained “WannaCry” ransomware.
Staff at Britains’s NHS hospitals opened these emails which allowed the ransomware to be encrypted onto their computers, locking them out and making all data inaccessible. A message appeared on infected computers, demanding $300 in Bitcoin in 7 days or all data would be deleted.
Despite Russia experiencing the largest number of attacks, Putin says it had “no significant damage.” Putin not only blamed the US for the attack but stressed the need for immediate action.
“As regards [to] the source of these threats, I believe that the leadership of Microsoft have announced this plainly, that the initial source of the virus is the intelligence services of the United States,” Putin said.
“So this question should be discussed immediately on a serious political level and a defence needs to be worked out from such phenomena.”
Incidents such as this point to the steady incline of cyber-crime. New research predicts these crimes will cost businesses more than $2 trillion by 2019. Last year, $450 billion (£350 billion) was lost to cyber-crime occurring across the globe, and these figures are only estimates since these crimes can be difficult to detect.
The Trump administration has reacted and is currently assessing the cyber security threat. White House homeland security advisor Tom Bossert warns this threat could “morph into a more difficult and threatening matter”.